It all started in the first inning, with a leadoff home run by Rays right fielder Matt Joyce off of Red Sox pitcher John Lackey that, at the time, narrowed the Sox' lead to a 6-1 Rays deficit.
In the bottom of the second, Joyce had the green light on a 3-0 count and turned on the ensuing fastball, sending a foul ball deep into the right field corner bleachers. After a 3-1 groundout to end the frame, Lackey engaged Joyce in confrontation, apparently perturbed at Joyce's disposal of his bat following the foul. Lackey believed Joyce flipped the bat as if to show up the hurler on a home run, while Joyce claimed he dropped the bat in disappointment the ball had hooked foul.
|Brawl that wasn't: Benches clear, but no punches.|
In the sixth, with two out, none on and a 0-1 count, Lackey hit Joyce with an up-and-in 90-mph fastball, sending Joyce and Lackey into an immediate confrontation while Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped in between the two, putting his hands (and mitt) on Joyce, who shoved back, inciting the benches to clear as Lackey walked into the fray.
After some animated pushing and shoving by both teams, plate umpire Tom Hallion and crewmates Phil Cuzzi, Chris Guccione and Ron Kulpa conversed and elected to issue warnings in lieu of ejecting any personnel from either team. After a Ben Zobrist double, Lackey was lifted from the game amidst a chorus of Tropicana Field boos.
Rule 8.02(d) governs the case of a pitcher intentionally throwing at a batter and obliges the umpire to:
1. Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or
2. Warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager.
If, in the umpire's judgment, circumstances warrant, both teams may be officially "warned" prior to the game or at any time during the game.In regards to a fight situation, each umpire has the authority to disqualify team uniformed personnel for "objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language" [OBR Rule 9.01(d)].
Video: A hit-by-pitch, interpreted as intentional by Tampa Bay, results in warnings but no ejections (TB)
Video: MLB Network analyzes Joyce's at-bats against Lackey leading to the bench-clearing incident (MLB)