Oakland A’s closer Grant Balfour and Detroit Tigers DH Victor Martinez got into a verbal fight during the ninth inning of Monday’s ALDS Game 3 between the teams, and their words led to the benches clearing.
Balfour was in to close out the game with the A’s up 6-3 on the Tigers. He threw a 1-2 93 mph fastball that Martinez fouled off. Martinez looked over at the mound after the foul ball as if to let Balfour know he was on the pitcher’s fastball. That definitely bothered Balfour.
“The f— you looking at me for b—h?” Balfour could be heard saying.
Martinez sent the f-bombs right back, and the two started walking toward each other.
“The f— is your problem b—h?” Balfour continued, leading the umpire to separate them.
Both team’s benches cleared and the bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown.
Balfour wound up retiring Martinez after everything settled down. Warnings were issued to both sides.
MLB Network had to apologize for the audio getting out, and the A’s held on for the 6-3 win.
“If you’re going to stare me down, come on. That’s all I said. So he did. We had a jaw match. It’s all fun and games,” Balfour said after the game, per MLive.com’s James Schmehl.
“Obviously Balfour’s is a character on the mound, so there’s going to be some fireworks sometimes,” A’s first baseman Brandon Moss admitted after the game.
Moss is absolutely right. We’ve seen this act from Balfour more than a few times in the past.
Balfour is a high-intensity guy and gets into it with a lot of opponents. Remember when Albert Pujols yelled at him? It was probably for a similar reason.
And as Tim Burke reminds us, Balfour did the same thing in the 2008 ALCS when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays against the Chicago White Sox:
Here’s the censored version of the spat: