Warnings were promptly issued to both sides by home-plate umpire Dan Bellino, causing Farrell to jog out of the dugout and argue the call. Farrell was ejected by Bellino just seconds after coming out.
"You know, David is a heck of a pitcher. He comes in with two hit batters and eight walks on the year. He comes in with the lowest walk rate in the American League. When he throws a ball and hits David Ortiz in the back, there's intent to that," Farrell said. "They can dispute that all they want. There's intent to that pitch. As emphatic as Dan Bellino's warning was, it sure seemed like Dan Bellino felt like there was intent as well."
The two teams finished a three-game series just last weekend, which included a scuffle on Sunday after Yunel Escobar took third on defensive indifference in the seventh inning when the Rays had an 8-3 lead. Escobar exchanged words with the Red Sox's dugout after the play and began walking toward it, before Jonny Gomes ran in from left field and shoved the shortstop, prompting both benches to clear.
Because of that incident, Price said he wasn't surprised by the quick warning, thinking it would have been done before the game. However, he was surprised at the Red Sox's reaction to their star slugger getting hit.
"I have to establish my fastball in. I have six lefties in that lineup," Price said. "It's my favorite side of the plate to go to. I had to establish it in."
Price and Ortiz have a bit of a history. When the Rays and Red Sox faced off in last year's AL Division Series, the left-hander took exception to Ortiz's slow home run trot in Game 2.
However, Price and Ortiz appeared to bury the hatchet after the incident. Until Friday night.
"I had a lot of respect of the guy, man, but it's over," said Ortiz. "I have no more respect for him. Last year we kick his [butt] in the playoffs, he went off, talking [trash] about everybody.
"It is a war. It's on. Next time he hits me he better bring the gloves. I have no respect for him no more."
Things moved along for the next few innings without any incidents, but then in the bottom of the fourth, Price hit Red Sox first baseman Mike Carp near his right forearm.
After that, Red Sox bench coach and acting manager Torey Lovullo became incensed, causing both benches and bullpens to empty. Ortiz was especially irate, yelling at Price and trying to get near him.
"He didn't say anything to me," Ortiz said. "He knew he screwed up. He did that on his own. No manager and no player was comfortable with the situation. He can get someone else hurt."
Despite the warnings issued, crew chief Jeff Kellogg and Bellino chose not to eject Price, believing the pitch wasn't thrown intentionally.
"Sure, you think about a lot of things, but part of losing control is them losing control. We stay under control. We aren't going to make a decision if we feel we are in the right because we're worried about somebody losing control," Kellogg said. "At some point, you want to keep the peace out there and you want to keep control of the game. We weren't going to throw him out of the game to please Boston because things were getting out of control on their end."
Once Lovullo was ejected, Red Sox third-base coach Brian Butterfield became the acting manager. First-base coach Arnie Beyeler moved to the third-base coach's box and assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez took over as first-base coach. However, that group didn't last long, either.
Red Sox righty Brandon Workman threw a pitch behind Evan Longoria in the top of the sixth, and he was immediately ejected. Because of the prior warnings, that made Butterfield an automatic ejection as acting manager.
The Red Sox right-hander, who was making his second start of the season, said the errant pitch happened because of the rainy weather.
"The ball was slick and it slipped out of my hand," Workman said. "I've never been ejected before, so I didn't know if I would be. I tried to argue my case, but I think I was ejected even before the ball hit the backstop."
These two teams will face each other 12 more times this season.
"We've been down this road with these guys for a while. We're both at the bottom of our division. Neither one of us likes being at the bottom of our division. We're not used to that over the last several years," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "There's really a lot of pent up emotion over the last several years, not just a couple days ago and more. It's that way when you play each other that many times in a season."