Pujols, Astros get into it after Marisnick is drilled

Benches clear 9 days after Angels' Lucroy injured in collision in Houston

July 17th, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Both benches and bullpens cleared in the sixth inning of the Angels' 7-2 win over the Astros at Angel Stadium on Tuesday night after Halos reliever Noe Ramirez hit Jake Marisnick with a pitch, nine days after Marisnick collided with Jonathan Lucroy at the plate in Houston, giving the Angels catcher a concussion and a fractured nose that required surgery.

Angels manager Brad Ausmus and Ramirez both maintained the plunking was unintentional after the game, but Astros manager AJ Hinch took exception to it and was angry that Ramirez wasn’t ejected.

"I mean, the entire industry was probably expecting it," Hinch said. "Our guy got suspended for an unintentional act, and they got a free shot. ... We’ll see if there’s discipline. And without discipline, there’s not going to be any issue doing it the next time. If retaliations are in, cool. We’re well aware."

After Ramirez hit Marisnick with an 89.6-mph fastball high around his left shoulder to lead off the sixth, home-plate umpire Stu Scheurwater issued warnings to both clubs. Ramirez threw two sliders before hitting Marisnick with the 1-1 fastball.

"I was just trying to sneak a fastball by him," Ramirez said. "I threw two sliders away. I think the scouting report on me is I might sneak a fastball in there after a couple offspeed pitches. I tried to sneak one by him in, and it just got away from me. They’re a good team, so I wasn’t trying to give them any sort of chance. ... That’s the last thing I was trying to do."

As Marisnick got to first base, Albert Pujols took issue to something said in the Astros’ dugout, and the two sides began jawing at each other. Pujols declined to comment about the situation after the game, but injured right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. could be seen yelling something toward Pujols from the top railing.

It escalated from there, with both benches and bullpens emptying, but it never became physical and there were no ejections. Marisnick tried to play peacemaker, waving his teammates back into the dugout in an effort to defuse the situation.

“I honestly didn’t really hear [what was said], I just saw the kind of situation happening,” Marisnick said. “I mean, there’s no place for anything like that on a baseball field. I’m doing my best just to kind of calm down the situation."

Ausmus believed the umpires handled the situation correctly and was pleased to see nothing escalated further.

"To be honest with you, I know it looks awful, but I think the first pitch was a strike," Ausmus said. "It was a strike, so if he swings at it and hits it, we’re not even talking about it. It’s tough to go to a 1-1 count with any intent. Noe is a right-handed pitcher who comes down from the side and sometimes people get hit. ... Like often happens in those circumstances, people are jawing back and forth. But it did not escalate, and I thought the umpires handled it very well.”

Hinch didn’t like how high the pitch was that struck Marisnick.

“He knew he was gonna get hit,” Hinch said. “Their guys talk about it, our guys talk about it. This was not a surprise. I wish they would’ve handled it better. It was too high. If they’re gonna hit guys, they need to hit guys the right way. They don’t need to throw two sliders, and then throw a guy a neck ball. That’s not right. That’s not the right way to do it, even if you’re allowed to do it, which apparently you are nowadays.”

Marisnick was suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for his collision with Lucroy, but he is appealing. He said he felt terrible about the play and reached out to Lucroy via text message to apologize.

Lucroy underwent a procedure to repair his broken nose on Tuesday and is expected to be out roughly three weeks. Lucroy told Marisnick via text that he gave him all of foul ground to have a running lane to home but Marisnick took the inside lane instead, leading to the violent collision.

“It was an unfortunate play back in Houston,” said Marisnick, who was booed by Angels fans throughout the night. “I feel terrible about it, and to come here and watch some of this go down, it sucks.”