Both teams have struggled as of late, with the Rockies entering the night with an eight-game losing streak and the Dodgers winners of just two of their last 11 games.
So, emotions running so close to the surface and bursting through should come as no surprise, and that is precisely what happened in the bottom of the eighth inning. Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba and Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp got into a shoving match that brought both benches and bullpens into play for a late-game, everyone-in scuffle.
With two out and Kemp at the plate in the eighth, a third strike got away from Torrealba. Kemp did not run, but walked slowly toward first with the bat still in his hand as the ball trickled up the baseline. Kemp poked the ball, while Torrealba first tried to move Kemp out of the way to pick it up.
Torrealba then tagged Kemp, who pushed back. Torrealba shoved back forcefully and the two wrestled, eventually falling to the ground. Both benches cleared and both bullpens gave chase for the scrum along the first-base line and in the infield that took a couple of minutes to clear.
"It happened too fast; it just was dumb on both of our parts, and basically it is what it is," said Kemp, who, along with Torrealba, was ejected.
Torrealba refused to comment on the incident after the game, but manager Clint Hurdle could not find fault with his catcher.
"He was trying to make a play. That happens 100 times in this game where you try to move the runner out of the way," Hurdle said. "That is the first time I've seen a runner take offense to it."
Dodgers manager Joe Torre also thought Torrealba was trying to make a play on the ball.
"It's the heat of the game; you're passionate about what you do, and we've been struggling lately. I think it all played a part in, actually, both sides." Torre said. "I don't think anything was done purposely, I think it was just in an effort to get to the ball. There's no question it was more frustration had to do with that than anything else."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less