Beaning leaves Prince steaming
And nobody was sure how the Brewers and the Dodgers would react in Wednesday's season finale after Los Angeles' impressive 17-4 victory Tuesday night degenerated into retaliation, recrimination and a regrettable charge through the Dodger Stadium tunnels by the Brewers' All-Star first baseman.
The trouble started when Manny Ramirez was hit by a pitch in the seventh while Los Angeles had a nine-run lead, but it didn't boil over until Guillermo Mota was ejected for drilling Fielder with two outs in the ninth. Dodgers catcher Russell Martin acknowledged it was a response to Chris Smith hitting Ramirez with what appeared to be a much less purposeful pitch.
"It's just part of the game," Martin said. "Our premier hitter gets hit, and he gets protection. I understand (Fielder) is frustrated, but you don't take care of that after the game."
Mota and Fielder were teammates in Milwaukee last year, but the veteran reliever and the burly power hitter are no longer on friendly terms. Fielder took off for the Dodgers' side of the stadium after the final out, shouting obscenities all the way to the clubhouse door.
Several teammates trailed behind him in a surreal scene, but Bill Hall and Casey McGehee got a firm grip on Fielder while a wall of security blocked his way.
Most of the Dodgers didn't know about Fielder's march.
"We don't want the same situation as last year in the playoffs, when Philly threw at Manny and we didn't retaliate," Martin said, referring to last fall's NL championship series against the Phillies. "We don't want to be known as a team that doesn't have each other's backs."
The late shenanigans marred Los Angeles' highest-scoring home performance in 30 years.
Brewers manager Ken Macha felt Mota's two-out pitch could have added injury to the insult of a 13-run loss.
"(Fielder) has been hit a lot, but he digs right in there and doesn't budge," Macha said. "He just doesn't like when somebody does it on purpose. I don't blame him.
Everybody's trying to make a living, and this type of mentality puts everybody in jeopardy—myself, the other team, the players on the other team. So, to me, giving a guy a $500 fine and a two-day suspension is not enough. This type of stuff should be cleaned up."
"He came inside. It just got away from him," Fielder said. "It happens. That's baseball. He tried to come inside."
When asked about his postgame march to the other side, he deadpanned: "I don't remember that."
Ramirez ended his 10-game RBI drought with a homer and a two-run double during the Dodgers' highest-scoring performance of the season. With 18 hits and three huge innings with at least four runs, Los Angeles improved the majors' best record to 66-41—yet the late-game pitches overshadowed everything.
"I'm pretty sure our guy wasn't really trying to hit Manny," Milwaukee's Mike Cameron said. "I mean, it just kind of grazed him. But that's how they felt. That's what they thought they needed to do, so that's cool. We'll deal with it when we cross the (lines), but there's no concern for anything right now."
Matt Kemp had a homer among his four hits while driving in five runs, getting two hits and two RBIs during the seven-run sixth inning alone. Martin reached base five times and had three RBIs.
Los Angeles sent eight men to the plate in a four-run first inning and used 12 batters in the sixth before batting around again in the five-run eighth. Six Dodgers had multihit games, including three apiece for Martin and Andre Ethier.
The Dodgers hadn't scored 17 runs at Dodger Stadium since May 25, 1979, against Cincinnati.
Hiroki Kuroda (4-5) pitched six resilient innings to earn his first win since July 3. He yielded nine hits and three runs, struck out seven and escaped a fifth-inning jam.
Ramirez ended his RBI-less streak at 44 at-bats, matching the longest drought of his career in 1997, with a long homer in the fifth off Yovani Gallardo (10-8), who yielded 10 hits and nine runs. Ramirez hadn't driven in a run since his pinch-hit grand slam July 22.
Ramirez, in a 7-for-44 slump before his 12th homer, had a chance for his 22nd career grand slam in the sixth. He settled for a sharp two-RBI drive down the left field line.