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Brawl Mars Reds' Win Over Phillies

Dunn charges mound after two purpose pitches; five are ejected during Cincinnati's 15-1 victory.

June 14, 2003|From Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Adam Dunn's lowered left shoulder turned a blowout into a blowup.

Dunn bowled over catcher Mike Lieberthal of the Philadelphia Phillies as he tried to score after the Cincinnati Reds had built a double-digit lead, then charged the mound and sparked a brawl during a 15-1 victory Friday night.

Phillie Manager Larry Bowa and two players from each team were ejected after both benches and bullpens emptied and players squared off.

Dunn, a football player at Texas who is the biggest player on the Reds, went after reliever Carlos Silva after he threw two inside pitches in the sixth. The first was just under his knees, drawing a warning from plate umpire Doug Eddings.

The next pitch was another fastball behind Dunn's back. Eddings immediately ejected Silva -- Bowa got an automatic ejection as well -- and Dunn pounced.

The 6-foot-6, 240-pound outfielder tightened his batting glove and sprinted for the mound, but Lieberthal tackled him around the legs from behind just as he got there.

"He threw the first pitch and you say, 'OK, maybe he's just trying to come inside.' But when a big league pitcher throws one behind you, it's obviously a purpose pitch," Dunn said.

As Dunn lay on the ground after he was tackled, Silva stepped forward and took a big swing with his right arm. His hand appeared to barely graze the top of Dunn's bare head.

"When a guy takes an unbelievable swing like that, you have to try to defend [your teammate]," Red first baseman Sean Casey, also ejected, said.

Silva declined comment. Closer Jose Mesa of the Phillies also was ejected for mixing it up during the brawl, which overshadowed a two-homer, five-RBI game by Jason LaRue.

Dunn hit his 21st homer in the third inning, then got the Phillies fuming over his hit on Lieberthal in the fifth. He was waved home as he tried to score with the Reds ahead, 10-0.

Lieberthal got the ball long before Dunn arrived. Dunn lowered his left shoulder and bowled him over, but Lieberthal held on for the out.

Lieberthal didn't object to Dunn's hard hit, saying, "I think it's part of the game. Anytime anyone wants to take out the catcher, it's fine as long as it's not a cheap shot to the face with a forearm."

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