Mike Sweeney turned into a real slugger Friday night.
Sweeney delivered another hard hit, charging the mound and throwing Jeff Weaver to the ground before the Detroit right-hander even threw a pitch to him in the sixth inning, and the Royals rallied to beat the Detroit Tigers, 7-3, at Kansas City.
Numerous punches were thrown as the benches and bullpens cleared. There was a 12-minute delay and Sweeney, Royal pitching coach Al Nipper and Detroit bench coach Doug Mansolino were ejected.
"I wish that it never happened. But in the same breath, he called me out," Sweeney said. "I've always been taught to respect the game and play the game hard. I thought he crossed the line tonight."
The problems began as Sweeney got ready to bat with two outs and a runner on second base and the Royals trailing, 2-1. He asked plate umpire Mike Fichter to have Weaver move the resin bag from a distracting spot on the top of the mound.
Replays showed that Weaver said something to Sweeney and turned his back. Sweeney threw his batting helmet at the pitcher and rushed the mound.
Sweeney is regarded as one of the more mild-mannered players in baseball while the 6-foot-5 Weaver worked as a security guard at an April taping of the "Jerry Springer Show."
Sweeney said he charged after Weaver called him profane names.
Players, coaches and Kansas City manager Tony Muser got into the fray.
Detroit manager Phil Garner called it "the most vicious thing I've ever seen."
"That's a pretty good philosophy," Garner said. "A guy has a pretty good game going so you just run out and knock him out of the game.".
When play resumed, Dave McCarty replaced Sweeney and walked, and Raul Ibanez hit a tying single. After a wild pitch, Weaver (10-11) hit Mark Quinn with a pitch, loading the bases.
Matt Perisho relieved Weaver and got Dee Brown to hit a routine fly ball, but center fielder Roger Cedeno had the ball glance off his glove for an error that allowed three runs to score.
Chicago 8, Seattle 6--Mariner relief ace Kazuhiro Sasaki blew another save chance in startling fashion, giving up five runs in the ninth at Seattle.
On a day in which the Mariners were given permission by major league baseball to begin selling postseason tickets, the AL West leaders held a 6-3 lead helped by Edgar Martinez's ninth career grand slam.
But Chicago loaded the bases against Sasaki (0-4) with one out, and a walk to Herbert Perry made it 6-4. After Ray Durham struck out, Jose Valentin hit a tying, two-run double and Magglio Ordonez followed with a two-run double.
Oakland 8, New York 1--Jason Giambi and Jermaine Dye hit three-run homers and Cory Lidle scattered four hits over eight innings to lead the Athletics at Oakland. The Athletics won their ninth consecutive game and it was their 31st victory in 41 games. Oakland increased its lead to one game over idle Boston in the AL wild-card race.
Tampa Bay 4, Minnesota 2--Paul Wilson pitched six scoreless innings and Chris Gomez hit a home run and went three for three with two RBIs as the Devil Rays won at St. Petersburg, Fla. The Twins, who remained tied with Cleveland for the AL Central lead, are 9-19 since the All-Star break.
Texas 7, Cleveland 2--Doug Davis (6-8) gave up six hits over eight innings and Gabe Kapler homered as the Rangers won at Arlington, Tex.
Boston at Baltimore--The game was postponed by rain. No makeup date was set.