Jon Lieber hadn’t hit a batter all season until he drilled Aaron Boone in the second inning Thursday night. So when Lieber buzzed a pitch behind Dontrelle Willis, the Marlins left-hander knew what he had to do.
“I’ve got to defend myself, bottom line. … I just returned the e-mail,” Willis said after Miguel Cabrera’s double scored Hanley Ramirez and gave the Marlins a 5-4 victory in 11 innings against the Phillies.
“Sometimes you need a little fire,” Willis said.. “I’m not about anybody getting hurt by no means. I’m about everybody being healthy and playing hard on the field but at the same token it is what it is. I’m not going to back down from anything.”
The Marlins don’t play the Phillies again until August, and Willis said he thought any hard feelings might go away in the next two months.
“We’ve always played each other competitively. I’ve got friends on that team,” Willis said.
With two outs and a runner at first in the fourth inning, Willis threw a wild pitch behind Lieber, who stood in disbelief before eventually taking first on a walk. After Rollins grounded out to end the inning, Lieber jogged toward the Phillies dugout and shouted at Willis.
Willis waved his glove and shouted toward the Phillies’ dugout.
Within seconds, both benches cleared. Hitting coach Jim Presley held Willis back. Even though he’d been ejected earlier, Gonzalez joined his team on the field to restore order.
“I shouldn’t have gone out there but I went out there to break stuff up and not let anything escalate,” he said, adding he might get fined from the league.
Several players pushed and shoved each other. At least one punch was thrown by an unidentified Marlins player before order was restored.