D-backs 'stir the pot' with Stro, benches clear
PHOENIX -- Mets starter Marcus Stroman was dealing. The D-backs’ bats had been struggling early. And that led to some heated discussions taking place during Arizona’s 6-5, 10-inning win at Chase Field on Tuesday night.
The benches and bullpens emptied at the end of the fifth inning, with players from both teams converging at first base and exchanging words following the final out. That happened after D-backs leadoff hitter Josh Rojas popped out, ending a 1-2-3 inning by Stroman, who had pitched five scoreless to that point.
From there, the two had a conversation that sparked the incident.
“He was looking at me after I flew out. We made eye contact and then we had an exchange of words, but, I mean, just trying to get the guys going,” Rojas said. “You know, he's out there throwing well, let's try to mix things up there and stir the pot a little bit and get us going.”
It’s not known what Rojas said, as he noted, “[Stroman] knows what I said to him.” Stroman didn’t comment on the exchange.
Mets manager Luis Rojas called the benches-clearing situation “a flare of emotions” between two teams trying to win a game, something that can happen over the course of a long, hard-fought season.
“I jumped out of the dugout, I just wanted to bring Stro to the dugout and I wanted their player to go to his position and let’s keep playing baseball,” New York's skipper said. “We don’t need anything like this; we’re not looking for anything like this. We’re competing. I think the competition and the high level of competition is what caused this.”
Both managers ended up in the center of the action, trying to contain their respective sides. Arizona’s Torey Lovullo and New York’s Rojas praised each other for the job done to not let the situation get out of hand.
Although the players had verbal exchanges, nothing escalated from there.
“[Luis Rojas] was telling me where he was coming from, and I just said, ‘Look, I totally respect the way you run your team. I'll take care of my team, you grab yours and let's just get this thing off the field as soon as possible,’” Lovullo said. “That was basically what we were trying to work through.”
The Mets led 2-0 at the time, and they added two more runs the following half-inning on a Francisco Lindor RBI triple and a Dominic Smith sacrifice fly.
But Arizona erased that four-run deficit, completing the comeback when Josh Rojas ripped a game-tying RBI single in the ninth off Edwin Díaz. The D-backs went on to win on Josh Reddick’s walk-off two-run double in the 10th.
And that was what Josh Rojas was trying to accomplish a handful of innings earlier.
“You just stir the pot a little bit, you know, benches clear, it's a good time for both sides,” the Arizona second baseman said. “Guys, teams like to clear benches. I wasn't trying to cause anything major. I know there's not going to be any punches thrown out on the field.
“I've always been fiery, I like to say things here and there. Just to stir the pot, you know, change energy into our favor.”