A fake tag and a purpose pitch led to some on-field antics between Washington’s Nationals and the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 2016 in PNC Park though the protagonists in that bench-clearing altercation (Jung Ho Kang and A.J. Cole) were playing elsewhere when there was a flare-up of hostilities between the two teams again last night.
This time it was Nationals’ outfielder Adam Eaton and Pirates’ catcher Francisco Cervelli who got in each other’s faces after Eaton had words with the home plate umpire over a pitch that was called a strike in spite of its location.
Eaton made ump Gabe Morales aware of his objections in a brief conversation which went on too long for Cervelli, who walked away from the plate, but turned quickly and returned to face off with the plucky Nats’ right fielder when Eaton asked him where he was going.
“I was kind of feeding words to the umpire. I wasn’t real happy with the call, as you could probably tell,” Eaton told reporters, as quoted by MLB.com’s Adam Berry.
“And [Cervelli] goes to walk away, kind of making a bigger deal than it really was. I don’t know why you’ve got to walk away there and kind of isolate us and make it a bigger deal than it was.
”I simply said: ‘Where the heck are you going?’ He didn’t like that. That’s his prerogative. But again, I don’t know why in the world you’ve got to leave. The baseball’s going to start in five seconds if you just stay there. And now you’re making a bigger deal than what it is. It is what it is, and we moved on from it.”
They moved on, but not until after both benches cleared and both teams gathered at home plate, with the bullpens emptying just in time for everything to settle down with little or no actually physical contact between the two teams.
“I respect everyone, so they have to respect you. But it’s OK,” Cervelli told MLB.com. “It wasn’t anything,” he added. “Nothing happened.”
“I think Eaton was questioning a call by Gabe and I think he just said something and Cervelli jumped in and said something and they had a few words, all in the heat of the game,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nationals dropped a 6-3 decision to the Pirates.
“When I got there, everybody was yelling,” the first-year skipper said, but that was about it.