PHOENIX - A fierce brawl that saw Alfredo Aceves and several players throw nasty punches erupted Saturday in the ninth inning of Canada's 10-3 romp over Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in a melee that also involved fans.
The fights broke out after Canada's Rene Tosoni was hit by a pitch from Arnold Leon with Canada leading 9-3 at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It turned into a wild scene, as chaotic as any on a major league field in recent years.
Even when the fisticuffs ended, a full water bottle thrown from the crowd struck the face of a Canadian coach. Canada shortstop Cale Iorg angrily threw the bottle back into the crowd.
Several police officers came onto the field trying to restore order, and there were a few skirmishes in the seats. Seven players were ejected.
There had already been several hard plays on the bases when things got out of hand. Shortly before Tosoni was a hit, a bunt single by Canada seemed to heighten the tension -- a tiebreaker in the WBC relies heavily on scoring runs, and the Canadians were trying to pad their margin.
Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Morneau and Joey Votto were among the big-name, high-priced stars playing in the game. The fight was exactly the kind of thing that must have made major league managers and general managers cringe at the thought of one of their players getting hurt in such a fracas.
Aceves was among four Mexican players thrown out -- the angry Boston reliever was tossed to the ground by Philadelphia minor league outfielder Tyson Gillies during the height of the altercation.
Also ejected were Arnold Leon, Oliver Perez and Eduardo Arredondo of Mexico and Tosoni, Pete Orr and Jay Johnson of Canada. A statement from WBC organizers said tape of the incident would be reviewed for possible disciplinary action.
All in all, it was far from the worldwide goodwill that is supposed to accompany this competition, where players exchange team hats with opponents before the start of each game as a sign of sportsmanship.