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09/16/07 9:12 PM ET
Young slams Rangers to victory
Padilla ejected after hitting Swisher in the first inning
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- The Rangers snapped their five-game losing streak and tied a club record for grand slams in a season on another spectacular Northern California afternoon at McAfee Coliseum. Too bad Vicente Padilla couldn't stay around and witness it first-hand. But it's probably not the only game he'll have to miss in the waning days of the season. Padilla lasted only two batters and 10 pitches on Sunday, getting ejected after a bench-clearing altercation with Athletics outfielder Nick Swisher in the Rangers' 11-9 victory in the final game of their four-game series. Michael Young kept the Rangers from being swept with an eighth-inning grand slam off reliever Andrew Brown. The grand slam was the Rangers' eighth of the season, tying the club record, set in 1999 and 2006. "We didn't play well the first three games of the series," Young said. "They pretty much stuck it to us the first three games, so to get one is nice." John Rheinecker picked up the victory with 2 2/3 scoreless innings and Joaquin Benoit earned his fifth save as the Rangers used five relievers from their overworked bullpen to cover nine innings after Padilla clashed with Swisher. "Rheinecker eased our pain," manager Ron Washington said. "We just couldn't throw strikes today. We couldn't keep the ball in the strike zone, but fortunately, we came up with enough runs to win the game." The Rangers threw 207 pitches, but the one that had the Athletics fuming was a full-count fastball that hit Swisher in the ribs in the first inning. It was the third time in the series Swisher was hit by a pitch. Swisher, who has three home runs in the series and six against the Rangers this season, was also hit by reliever Bill White in the seventh inning on Saturday and Kason Gabbard in the first inning on Friday. Athletics manager Bob Geren said there was "no doubt" in his mind that Padilla was intentionally throwing at Swisher. "The first pitch [today] was right at him," Geren said. "The third pitch was right at him. They threw one behind his back yesterday and hit him. The day before that, they hit him right in the knee. A guy hits three homers, you make better pitches. You don't hit him. That's not baseball." Washington, who was a coach for the Athletics for 11 years, defended Padilla, saying there was no intent. Padilla was not available for comment. "[Padilla] pitches inside," Washington said. "The ball came inside and hit him. He pitches inside. He always pitches inside. There's not much more to it than that. "Did I put a hit out on Swish? No." Swisher said that he didn't blame Washington. "I'd like to think Wash is above all that," Swisher said. Swisher charged the mound and tackled Padilla, but neither landed any punches. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was right behind Swisher and jumped on him before any serious damage was done. "I was surprised, to be honest with you," Saltalamacchia said. "With a hitter like Swisher, we go inside and he hits a home run, we go outside, he hits a home run. We were trying to go in and out on him. We're not trying to hit him. It took five or six pitches -- it's not like we did it on the first pitch." But, Saltalamacchia admitted, "I can see how he was frustrated." Added Young, when asked about Swisher charging the mound, "I can't say I was shocked by it." Swisher was ejected immediately. Padilla stayed on the mound, but the four umpires conferred, and he was eventually ejected as well. He walked off the field without saying a word. A suspension will likely follow. Padilla was suspended for five games in August last year after hitting the Angels' Vladimir Guerrero and Juan Rivera in a game, pitches that instigated two days of bad blood between the two teams and ultimately led to a on-field altercation involving reliever Scott Feldman. Padilla has hit nine batters this season and 75 since the start of the 2002 season, the most in the Major Leagues. There were no more incidents after Padilla was gone. Home-plate umpire Chuck Meriwether warned both teams immediately and each pitcher when they came into the game. "He said, 'I'm not going to stop you from pitching inside,' " Washington said. "'But if, in our opinion, you come inside and hit somebody intentionally, there will be repercussions.' They calmed everything down, and we proceeded to play baseball."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.