The intensity finally boiled over in a rivalry that seems to get better every year in the sixth inning Tuesday in Anaheim, when the A's led 3-1, and had the bases loaded.
John Lackey's first pitch to Jason Kendall was a breaking ball inside that wasn't particularly close to Kendall. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as Kendall stepped out of the batter's box and looked down.
When he heard something, Kendall looked up and said, "What?"
Additional words were exchanged, and Kendall darted after Lackey in the blink of an eye. Kendall tackled him and had to be pulled off.
"I can't repeat (what Lackey said)," Kendall said. "I'm not trying to be some tough guy, but I'm not going to let anybody talk to me like that."
Lackey hit Kendall on Sept. 26 in Oakland, and has said similar things on the field to Kendall in the past. Kendall's been hit 201 times in
"Jason has a history of leaning out over the plate trying to get hit with that elbow pad," Lackey said.
"I told him not to (lean over), and he had a problem with it. He came out and we got into it. He has that right and I don't have a problem with that. I shouldn't have been ejected, though."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued that point to home plate umpire Dale Scott, but to no avail.
"If Lackey doesn't aggressively yell at him, like he did, and almost challenge him in his body language, then Kendall doesn't go after him,"
Scott said. "He has to take some responsibility for the reasons these teams are on the field fighting."
Even as he was running on the field and separating his teammates, A's third baseman Eric Chavez didn't know why.
"Everybody was asking me what happened and I was like, 'I don't know,'" Chavez said. "I like every single guy over there. There's nobody I dislike. But I'm sure it won't be the end of it."
A mini-beanball war was waged later in the game, as Mark Ellis was hit for a second time in the ninth inning and Chad Gaudin hit Robb Quinlan with an 0-2 pitch with two-outs in the bottom of the ninth. Scoscia was ejected in the ninth after arguing that Gaudin should have been tossed. Gaudin remained in the game and recorded the final out two batters later.
REPLAY: The A's broke open another one-run game in the ninth inning. With the bases loaded, Nick Swisher hit a sacrifice fly to score pinch
runner Mark Kotsay. Frank Thomas singled home two more, and Bobby Crosby's three-run homer was the finishing blow, as the A's cruised to a 10-3 win.
Starter Brad Halsey filled in for Rich Harden and drew high marks for his performance -- allowing three runs in 5.1 innings. Kiko Calero, Huston Street, Justin Duchscherer and Chad Gaudin pitched scoreless relief to get Halsey the win.
--RHP Kirk Saarloos came from nowhere to win the A's fifth starter job last spring. He was moved to the bullpen this year for long relief, became the emergency closer Friday, finished a seven-run lead Sunday, and returns to the starting rotation Thursday at home for the injured Esteban Loaiza.
--LHP Barry Zito and LHP Brad Halsey are now slotted back-to-back in the rotation and A's manager Ken Macha hopes to split them up from that order.
--CF Mark Kotsay didn't start Tuesday, but he pinch-ran in the ninth inning. Kotsay's been banged up after getting hit in the leg, running
on a wet field, crashing into a wall, and his usual back maintenance.
--RHP Huston Street made his first appearance since April 18, pitching a 1-2-3 seventh inning, and said he felt all right after the inning,
but his velocity was down 4-6 mph. He spent 13 days inactive, but was not placed on the DL.