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Astros, A's clear benches as tempers flare


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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Benches cleared during the seventh inning of the Astros-Athletics series finale Sunday, tempers flaring at last between the AL West rivals months after Houston's sign-stealing scandal was brought to light by Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers.

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Oakland's Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch from Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh. He began exchanging words with Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron, then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting toward Cintron.

Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A's outfielder got to the hitting coach.

Players rushed out of both dugouts. Laureano was ejected by plate umpire Ted Barrett, and the umpiring crew could easily be heard yelling at the players to ''get back to the dugout!'' through a ballpark with no fans.

AL West-leading Oakland led 6-2 at the time and was riding an eight-game winning streak. The three-time reigning division champion Astros were riding a four-game losing streak.

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