Near brawl overshadows Nats' loss

Near brawl overshadows Nats' loss

NEW YORK -- A near brawl between Mets right-hander Pedro Martinez and Nationals outfielder Jose Guillen overshadowed Washington's 10-5 loss to New York in front of 25,839 at Shea Stadium on Thursday night.

In the game, Guillen and teammate Nick Johnson were twice hit by pitches, while Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca was hit by Felix Rodriguez in the eighth inning. But it was the bad blood between Guillen and Martinez that took center stage.

In the third inning, with Jose Vidro on first base and no outs, Martinez hit Guillen on the hip. Guillen stood in the batter's box for a few seconds and then walked to first base.

Two innings later, with the Mets leading, 5-2, Martinez hit Guillen on the right elbow with a pitch.

Guillen glared at Martinez and started to charge the mound. Guillen, however, was stopped by home-plate umpire Ted Barrett and Lo Duca. The right fielder pointed his bat at Martinez, and both benches and bullpens emptied. No punches were thrown, and Barrett issued warnings to both teams.

"I thought he handled [the first hit-by-pitch] well, and I was very proud of him. And I couldn't blame him on the second one," manager Frank Robinson said of Guillen. "All I wanted him to do was drop the bat."

Martinez thought Guillen overreacted after being hit by the second pitch.

"I can understand if you're frustrated or mad or something," Martinez said. "You want to charge me? Charge. But don't bring your bat out there. I wasn't scared anyway."

Guillen has been hit by Martinez fives times in 40 career plate appearances. He also is 13-for-32 [.406] with two home runs against the right-hander. They will face each other again on Wednesday night at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. Guillen said things will be handled differently that night, but he wouldn't say what his intent was for Martinez.

"I know how to take care of it," Guillen said. "Don't worry about it. It's as simple as that. I want him more than [anything]. I really want to face him now. It's not bad blood. He's a competitor. He has never been afraid to pitch inside, but I think enough is enough. ... We used to be friends, but I think that relationship is over. We face next time [on Wednesday]. That's all I have to say."

The bad blood between Guillen and Martinez started on July 5, 2005. Guillen believed that Martinez purposely hit him with a pitch, but instead of taking it out on Martinez, Guillen became angry at former Nationals starter Esteban Loaiza for not retaliating against the Mets. Loaiza felt the game was too close to do such a thing. The Nationals ended up wining the game, 3-2. Guillen's anger at Loaiza carried over onto the field later in the game, when he made a throwing error that cost the Nationals a run.

After the warnings were given on Thursday, Mets reliever Duaner Sanchez was not ejected after hitting Johnson with a pitch. An ejection wouldn't come until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Rodriguez hit Lo Duca with a 1-0 offering. With both teams already warned, Robinson was automatically out of the game. Robinson argued with crew chief Rick Reed for several minutes.

"I said [to Reed], 'Rodriguez threw inside on the first pitch. Do you think he was throwing at him on the first pitch?' Reed said, 'Yeah.' I asked, 'Why didn't you throw him out?' [Reed] said, 'I gave him the benefit of the doubt.'

"I said, 'You think he threw at him on the second pitch?' He said, 'Yeah.' I asked why, [and Reed responded], 'Because he hit him. Perfect timing. Score it the way it is.' I said, 'That's ridiculous.'

"Nick gets hit after the warning, [and] nothing was said. Our guy gets run because [Reed] felt that was an appropriate time for us to retaliate. You have to be kidding me. I'm not going to retaliate there, if I retaliate."

Reed said that he didn't feel that anybody was trying to throw at anybody until Rodriguez hit Lo Duca.

"We see a lot of pitches," Reed said. "We don't feel that anybody was intentionally hit all night except for Paul Lo Duca in the end."

The Nationals were able to retaliate against the Mets in the fifth inning, when Johnson hit a three-run home run off Martinez to tie the score at 5.

But it was all Mets after that. In the bottom of the fifth, Carlos Delgado gave New York a 6-5 lead with a solo home run off Washington starter Ramon Ortiz.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Mets put the game away against reliever Joey Eischen. Carlos Beltran hit a two-run home run, while Cliff Floyd drove in David Wright with a double to right field.

In the ninth, with Jon Rauch on the mound, Beltran hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Jose Reyes, who led off with a triple to start the inning. The run was charged to Rodriguez.

"We didn't make good pitches in this series, especially tonight," Robinson said.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.