BOSTON (AP) - Baltimore closer Kevin Gregg says he was delivering a message with some inside pitches to Boston slugger David Ortiz.
The message could have been ``back off' or ``we're frustrated' as the Orioles lost their fifth straight game, allowing 10 or more runs for the fourth time during the skid.
Big Papi hit a three-run homer as the Red Sox scored eight times in the first inning of a 10-3 win over Baltimore on Friday night. In the eighth, he and Gregg got into a bench-clearing brawl.
Gregg and Ortiz exchanged some wild punches that did not connect as the benches cleared for the second time in the inning.
``I think you show them that we're not backing down,' Gregg said. ``We're not scared of them - them and their $180 million payroll. We don't care.'
The benches and bullpens emptied on consecutive pitches by Gregg to Ortiz. Nothing happened in the first round, which saw Ortiz take a few steps out toward the mound as players poured onto the field. Order was restored, and Ortiz popped up on the next pitch.
It was clear Gregg was yelling at Ortiz as the slugger trotted toward first base, then went after Gregg.
Gregg said he yelled at Ortiz to run out the flyball.
``Apparently, he didn't like me telling him that stuff and he came out there. That's part of the game - he has the right to come out there,' Gregg said. ``I'm going to defend myself if he comes out.'
Ortiz is known for not running out pop flies or groundballs. He also doesn't like getting pitched inside.
``There's 17 inches on the plate. You've got to use all 17,' Gregg said. ``That's what I was doing when I was out there. They're going to whine and complain about it because they think they're better than everybody else, but no, we have just as much right to pitch inside as they do.
``This is a team sport. I take offense to every run scored off every one of our pitchers. I take offense to every one of our hitters that's hit every time I'm out there.'
``You get tired of getting your butt kicked every night when you come in here and I'm going to stick up for what's ours and try to get the plate back.'
The Orioles, 5-21 in their last 26 games at Fenway Park, have given up 10 runs in each of the first two games of the four-game series. They have lost five in a row on this road trip and 10 of 11 overall, yielding double figures in four of the five consecutive losses. Their pitchers have allowed 81 hits during the losing streak.
Gregg, Ortiz, Baltimore reliever Jim Johnson and Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia were ejected after the fight. Neither Johnson nor Saltalamacchia was in the game at the time.
Orioles starter Zach Britton (6-7) put his team in an 8-0 hole in the first inning. The bullpen then kept things respectable, but this was never a game.
Then came the eighth inning.
``I'm not going to get into that he-said, she-said, we-said, all that stuff, and wolf calls,' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ``It is what it is. It's a game played by passionate men that care about what they're doing, and we're kind of wounded right now.
``I'm sure (Gregg) took some exception to swinging 3-0 there and I'm sure (Ortiz) took some exception to trying to pitch him in. It's part of the game. There's a lot of things that led up to that that you probably ... some people don't really notice, but we do.'
Derrek Lee homered for the Orioles, a solo shot off winner Josh Beckett (8-3), his former teammate with the Marlins, to key a three-run fifth inning.
Dustin Pedroia added a run in the sixth with a solo homer for Boston that was kept inside Fenway Park only by a sign above the left-field wall. Pedroia knocked one all the way out of the venue on Thursday in Boston's 10-4 win.
Boston reached 10 runs again Friday on Josh Reddick's RBI triple in the eighth.
Baltimore finally scored in the fifth on Lee's solo homer and RBI singles later in the inning from Nick Markakis and Adam Jones.
Brad Bergesen, who relieved Britton in the first, was knocked out of the game when he took a line drive from Ortiz off his pitching arm. The ball bounced hard off Bergesen's right forearm and rolled quickly to the third base line.
Bergesen chased down the ball and walked back to the mound, but didn't throw another pitch and headed back to the dugout with a trainer as right-hander Chris Jakubauskas was called in from the bullpen. The Orioles said Bergesen had a bruised right forearm.
It was that kind of night for Baltimore.
Boston already led 1-0 when Ortiz came to bat with two on and hit a shot well into the right-field seats on a 1-0 pitch.
NOTES: Baltimore OF Luke Scott, placed on the disabled list earlier this week with a right (non-throwing) shoulder strain, had an MRI that showed no extensive damage. Showalter said Scott will receive a cortisone injection Monday and be on target to return from the DL at the end of his 15 days.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved