Tribe Tops Tigers On TKO In Ninth

Fausto Carmona punches Gary Sheffield.

Don't invite Fausto Carmona and Gary Sheffield to your next party -- unless you like having things busted up. Cross Victor Martinez off the guest list, too, if you insist on Sheffield being there. They were the chief combatants in a seventh-inning brawl between the Indians and Detroit Tigers on Friday night. Cleveland won in the ninth, 6-5, on Jamey Carroll's single that was but an afterthought.

So were a pair of two-run homers by Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera that gave the Tigers a 4-2 lead; a solo shot by Cleveland's Grady Sizemore and two homers by the Tribe's Shin-Soo Choo, too.

Two batters after Cabrera's second two-run homer of the game and 36th of the season broke a 2-2 tie, Carmona hit Sheffield on the left elbow with a pitch.

The same thing happened on April 17, and Sheffield remembered.

He tucked his bat under his arm and slowly walked to first base, staring at Carmona and chiding him as well. Carmona stared back and yelled back.

Before making his next pitch, Carmona attempted to pick Sheffield off first. Both players yelled some more, then Sheffield charged Carmona and was pummelled by the pitcher and Indians teammates, especially Asdrubal Cabrera.

Every player and coach in both dugouts and bullpens spilled onto the field. Some pushed, some shoved, some yelled. Martinez, usually a happy-go-lucky sort, had to be restrained by Indians hitting coach Derek Shelton, then fellow Venezuelans Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers.

"Just because he's upset somebody else hit a home run, don't take it out on me," Sheffield told reporters afterwards. "Anytime you do that, we're going to have problems, before the game, after the game, whatever you want to do.

"There's a point I get to where it's hard to come back from. And when I get to that point, you're going to have to deal with me -- today, tomorrow, until the day I get you."

Sheffield spoke quietly but firmly as he sat at his locker.

Neither Indians manager Eric Wedge nor Carmona would address the situation, but Martinez -- after playing a video game with Josh Barfield, who scored the winning run, had plenty to say.

"I'm always going to protect my pitcher, so that is why I went out there," he said.

"Just shut your mouth and keep playing the game. You don't do anything after getting hit, then you do it at first base? Are you trying to get attention? I can't stand that, man."

Afterwards, Sheffield seemed more upset at Martinez, winning pitcher Rafael Perez (who didn't enter the game until the ninth, but ran in from the bullpen during the fight) and second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who was jumping over players to try and get at the Tigers' DH.

"Guys were punching me in the back of the head," Sheffield said. "I saw the tape. I know who they are. And I guarantee you, they'll have to deal with me."

As for Martinez, he said: "This guy, I don't know how many years he has, but his act is tired. All his chirping, all this macho stuff, throwing the equipment off. One thing I don't like is when somebody's chirping and making a big scene and backing up. If you're going to talk to me, be a man."

Indians first baseman Michael Aubrey was surprised that Sheffield went after Carmona. "He got to the bag and kept yelling, but I just thought he was going to keep talking trash," Aubrey said. "Fausto threw over, Sheffield yelled to him to just throw the ball to the plate, then he went after him."

Sheffield said he got in one good punch on Carmona. But the veteran took more than he gave out. Carmona put him into a headlock and pounded the top of Sheffield's head until the two were separated.

Ironically, it was a Cleveland player being hit by a pitch that helped the Indians win. Kelly Shoppach, who came on to catch when Martinez was ejected, got brushed with a pitch by Freddy Dolsi to open the ninth with the score tied, 5-5.

Barfield ran for Shoppach and pinch-hitter Ryan Garko singled to right off Gary Glover, sending Barfield to third. Carroll hit the first pitch over the head of rightfielder Ordonez, who just stood and watched. Ordonez was playing at a depth where he figured he could throw out a baserunner trying to score and anything hit deeper was going to end the game. It did.

Carroll was mobbed by teammates between first and second base.

"It was better to be under that pile than the other one," Carroll said. "They got me with some jabs and I said, 'You guys should've used those earlier.' But they were fun jabs. Any win is a good win, but after what happened, this one felt a little better."

Choo gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead with a home run in the first inning. Cabrera's first two-run shot off Carmona made it 2-2 in the fourth and Sizemore connected for his 33rd of the season in the sixth to tie it at 2.

Cabrera's second long homer made it 4-2, the Tigers added a run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly, but Choo tied it with a three-run shot off lefty Casey Fossum in the bottom half. It was his 13th of the season.

Choo revealed that some pregame tips from Shelton helped.

"Last series, against Minnesota, I struck out twice against left-handers," Choo said. "So I went to Shelton and said, 'How do you hit lefties?'

"He told me to look for them to bring the ball up and that they like to throw a lot of sliders. So I went to the batting machine and hit 100 sliders before the game.

"The first homer was a fastball, up. The second one was a slider."

Getting hit by a pitch, though, seemed to be the order of the night. In the second inning, the Indians' Travis Hafner was hit in the foot by a pitch. It was the 93rd time this year that a Cleveland player had been hit, breaking the American League record set by Toronto in 1996. When Shoppach got hit in the ninth, that put the Tribe six being the MLB record of 100 by the Houston Astros in 1997.

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