SAN FRANCISCO — Padre first baseman Fred McGriff didn't bother staring down Giants pitcher Trevor Wilson Thursday night after Wilson hit him with a pitch. McGriff simply charged the mound.
In the next 10 minutes, the Padres found themselves in one of the nastiest brawls in franchise history. They traded punches, kicks, slaps and jabs with the Giants.
The Padres' 9-4 victory was almost forgotten in the aftermath of the benches-clearing brawl in front of 11,594 fans at Candlestick Park.
There's no chance there'll be as many punches thrown in tonight's heavyweight fight between Evander Holyfield and Larry Holmes.
It took 16 minutes for the umpiring crew to restore order Thursday in the fourth inning, and when the game was resumed, six players and coaches were ejected from the game.
For the Padres, McGriff, pitcher Jose Melendez, third base coach Bruce Kimm and bullpen catcher Ron Oglesby were thrown out of the game. For the Giants, a bloodied pitcher Trevor Wilson and batting coach Dusty Baker were dismissed.
If umpire Harry Wendlestedt had desired, he could have ejected at least another dozen players. It was the most violent fight involving the Padres since the infamous Andre Dawson-Eric Show brawl in 1987 at Wrigley Field.
Everywhere you looked, there were fights. McGriff and Wilson traded punches. Padres catcher Dan Walters and Giants third baseman Matt Williams exchanged blows. Padres third baseman Gary Sheffield took on all-comers. Kimm and Baker were entangled, with mild-mannered first base coach Rob Picciolo even getting heated up.
There was so much action that Padres reliever Randy Myers and starter Greg Harris even bolted out of the clubhouse in right field.
The brawl, however, might have a lingering effect. Sheffield sustained a strained left shoulder, and McGriff a strained left rib cage. They were examined by the Giants team doctors, and their status is day-to-day.
The worst injury to the Giants was Wilson's bloody nose.
"That's what makes you so mad," Padres right fielder Tony Gwynn said. "We got two players hurt all because they decided to start pitching inside when they were down, 8-0.
"Our job is to put runs on the board. His (Wilson's) is to get people out. He didn't do his his job.
"But instead of taking an (beating) like a man, he took it like a wuss. We've got a lot of (angry) people around here."
Riddoch accused Giants Manager Roger Craig of orchestrating the brawl by leaving Wilson in the game instead of taking him out for a reliever.
"You knew it was coming that way when he left Wilson in the game," Riddoch said. "He's (Craig) been invovled in many of those things before."
When Craig heard Riddoch's comments, he felt like walking across the hall and challenging Riddoch to a fight.
"I guess he knows more about my pitching staff than I do," Craig snapped. "Maybe he should come over here and manage. My bullpen has been used a lot in the last four days. I wanted him in as long as he could . . .
"He must be a great manager if he knows that."
Said Wilson, also responding to Riddoch: "That's ridiculous. Fred's a left-handed hitter, and I'm a left-handed pitcher. Roger left me in there to get the guy out, and that's all there is to it."
It all started with the strength of Sheffield's bat.
Sheffield, enjoying the finest game of his career, hit a grand slam off Wilson with two outs in the fourth. It was the first grand slam of his career. It was his second homer of the night, another career high. And he established another career high with six RBIs.
It also gave the Padres an 8-0 lead, and considering the Giants' six-game losing streak, the frustration became too much for Wilson to bear.
When McGriff walked to the plate, Wilson threw the first pitch into McGriff's right thigh. There was little question it was a purpose pitch.
"It was blatant, totally blatant," Gwynn said. "Fred did what he had to do, and I don't blame him."
Said Wilson: "Those guys were whacking the ball off me, I was just trying to pitch inside to see what would happen."
McGriff immediately flicked his bat and stormed toward the mound. Wilson waited and threw his glove at McGriff's face. ("It was the only strike I threw all night," Wilson said.) And the two began wailing away. The benches, bullpens, and clubhouses cleared.
McGriff is Sheffield's best friend on the team; they are next-door neighbors in San Diego. There is no way Mr. McGriff is going to be the brunt of anyone's frustrations.
It was two years ago when the Giants pitching staff took liberties on the Padres lineup. They hit five different Padres batters, but there was never any retaliation. Included in the hit-by-pitch barrage was Padres catcher Benito Santiago, who sustained a broken left arm when hit by reliever Jeff Brantley's pitch.