Brewers-Red Sox benches empty after heated exchange

May 26th, 2024

BOSTON – You never know when a debate about the merits of bunting will break out.

On Sunday at Fenway Park, it happened in the heat of a 2-1 Red Sox win over the Brewers. Not in the stands, but down on the field near first base.

The teams’ series finale between the Brewers and Red Sox saw both benches and bullpens empty after the top of the seventh inning when Boston reliever and Milwaukee first-base coach Quintin Berry started jawing at each other.

With two outs and a runner on third and the teams tied at 1, the Brewers' Christian Yelich grounded out to Dominic Smith, who underhanded the ball to a covering Martin. As the right-hander walked toward Boston's dugout along the first-base line, Martin and Berry got into a very animated discussion.

The topic? Bunting. The inning began with Milwaukee’s Blake Perkins bunting for a single before Brice Turang sacrificed him to second.

“I probably said some things under my breath that were kind of directed toward that inning. I’ll let y'all determine what those things were,” Martin said. “Heat of the moment, they bunted twice. You see they bunted there at the end of the game. I don’t know. I didn’t like it. I know it’s part of the game, but it is what it is.”

Martin said he didn’t have any history with Berry, whose playing career he overlapped with in 2014 and ‘15. Asked if Martin felt disrespected as a pitcher when a batter dropped a bunt, the right-hander said he leaned more toward taking it “as a compliment.”

“Maybe they don’t think they can get a hit or whatever,” Martin said. “… I don’t know. I feel like in this league: Swing the bat, that’s it.”

Said Yelich: “It’s part of baseball. You’re trying to win a tie game. He got out of the inning in the tie game with no runs given up, so you would think he would be pretty happy about that. … All we’re trying to do is find a way. Part of our team’s skillset is doing that.”

“It’s not our first time,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said, referring to other benches-clearing moments for the Brewers against the Orioles in Baltimore and against the Rays at home in April -- the latter with the same umpiring crew as oversaw this series in Boston. “The guys play with a lot of energy. I think their pitcher showed some emotion and our people thought it was directed at them. I don’t really know if it was or it wasn’t.

“I’m not going to speculate about what the kid [Martin] was doing, but if you’re staring at somebody, it could be interpreted that you’re saying it to them. If you’re going to yell at us and say something and make it personal, we’re going to stand up for ourselves. I’m glad it didn’t lead to anything more than that.”

No punches were thrown and order was restored within short order. There were no ejections.

“Obviously you don’t want things like that to happen,” Martin said. “It looks bad, but [in the] heat of the moment, it’s competition. I said something, he said something back. It’s not like it was a one-way street, it was a two-way street. So it is what it is, it’s over now, we won.”