CLEVELAND (AP) — Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox and José Ramírez of the Cleveland Guardians exchanged punches at second base Saturday night, triggering a bench-clearing melee in the sixth inning that led to six ejections.
Ramírez appeared to connect with a right hand to the face of Anderson, who fell backward to the ground. A long fight ensued, one of the nastiest in the majors in recent years.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona, third base coach Mike Sarbaugh and closer Emmanuel Clase, and Chicago manager Pedro Grifol were ejected for their actions later in a brawl that included multiple flare-ups on the infield and in foul territory. It took 15 minutes before the order was restored.
The altercation began when Ramírez slid headfirst into second with an RBI double and Anderson stood over him, straddling Ramírez. When Ramírez got up, he pointed his finger in Anderson’s face and yelled, prompting them to square off.
Anderson dropped his mitt and threw the first punch, setting off a fight that saw both dugouts and bullpens empty onto the infield at Progressive Field. Sarbaugh and Clase were the primary figures in subsequent escalations during the delay.
Anderson had to be forcibly taken into the dugout by members of the coaching staff but returned to the field several minutes later from the clubhouse. Chicago teammate Andrew Vaughn physically carried Anderson down the steps following the latter outburst.
The White Sox held a 5-1 lead when the game was delayed.
After Anderson went down, the shortstop got up incensed, and did all he could to get at Cleveland’s All-Star third baseman while being restrained by several teammates.
Tempers temporarily calmed before Francona and Grifol had words, leading to pushing and shoving by players and coaches on both teams as the crowd roared.
It took umpires several minutes to gain control of the situation and sort through what happened before announcing the ejections.
Ramírez and Anderson likely face suspensions, and perhaps other participants as well. Chicago entered 25 games under .500, but Cleveland was only 2 1/2 games behind first-place Minnesota in the AL Central.