PHOENIX – A fierce brawl that saw Alfredo Aceves and several players throw nasty punches erupted Saturday in the ninth inning of Canada’s 10-3 romp over Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in a melee that also involved fans.
The fights broke out after Canada’s Rene Tosoni was hit by a pitch from Arnold Leon with Canada leading 9-3 at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It turned into a wild scene, as chaotic as any on a major league field in recent years.
Even when the fisticuffs ended, a full water bottle thrown from the crowd struck the face of a Canadian coach. Canada shortstop Cale Iorg angrily threw the bottle back into the crowd.
Several police officers came onto the field trying to restore order, and there were a few skirmishes in the seats. Seven players were ejected.
There had already been several hard plays on the bases when things got out of hand.
Shortly before Tosoni was a hit, a bunt single by Canada seemed to heighten the tension – a tiebreaker in the WBC relies heavily on scoring runs, and the Canadians were trying to pad their margin.
Aceves was among four Mexican players thrown out – the angry Boston reliever was tossed to the ground by Philadelphia minor league outfielder Tyson Gillies during the height of the altercation.
Also ejected were Arnold Leon, Oliver Perez and Eduardo Arredondo of Mexico and Tosoni, Pete Orr and Jay Johnson of Canada. A statement from WBC organizers said tape of the incident would be reviewed for possible disciplinary action.
In Tokyo, Yasmany Tomas hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning as Cuba routed Taiwan 14-0 in the second round of the World Baseball Classic. Cuba will play the loser of today’s game between Japan and the Netherlands on Monday for a chance to advance to the March 17-19 final round in San Francisco. Taiwan is eliminated from the tournament.
In San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carlos Santana homered, Robinson Cano had three hits and the Dominican Republic beat Spain 6-3 to improve to 2-0 in Group C and will advance to the second round in Miami if Puerto Rico beats Venezuela later Saturday.
Jeter, Rivera debut
In Tampa, Fla., Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera returned from injuries to make their 2013 spring training debuts Saturday in the New York Yankees’ 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
The 38-year-old Jeter was a designated hitter and singled sharply to left field on his first pitch since breaking his left ankle on Oct. 13 in the AL championship series opener. Jeter, who missed New York’s first 13 spring training games, grounded out to third base in his only other at-bat.
Hours after announcing this will be his final season, the 43-year-old Rivera made his first game appearance since April 30, throwing a 1-2-3 fifth inning.
Around the majors
In Mesa, Ariz., Jason Kipnis hit his first home run of the spring and former Wizard Cedric Hunter also connected to lead Cleveland over the Chicago Cubs 9-2.
In Scottsdale, Ariz., Adam Eaton had four hits and Aaron Hill had three to help Arizona defeat the Chicago White Sox 11-9.
In Goodyear, Ariz., Cesar Izturis hit a sixth-inning home in Cincinnati’s 6-5 win over Milwaukee.
In Dunedin, Fla., Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer, doubled and scored twice in Toronto’s 4-2 victory over Detroit.