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A bench-clearing spat between old teammates led to several ejections during Tuesday’s game between the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins … with a twist.
Twins pitcher Aaron Sanchez faced former Astros teammate Jose Altuve in the bottom of the fifth inning. After an inside pitch grazed Altuve, the batter got immediately furious at Sanchez, with the pitcher returning some lip.
Halfway through Altuve’s heated walk to first, the benches cleared as the two kept going at it. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli had to visit with his pitcher, which the umps tallied as a mound visit.
Then, a strange sequence unfolded one batter later. After Twins pitching coach Peter Maki made a trip to speak with his pitcher, Sanchez was forced out of the game. Due to MLB’s ruling on two visits to the mound, Sanchez had to be ejected — calling it a day after a tumultuous fifth inning.
Rocco Baldelli was once again caught in the umps’ crossfires and tossed from the contest by umpire Todd Tichenor. It’s been two weeks since Baldelli last got into it with an ump, facing the Toronto Blue Jays, and called their work some of the worst officiating the manager’s ever witnessed.
Thankfully, it wasn’t all bad blood on Tuesday.
The Astros spoiled Twins shortstop Carlos Correa’s return to Minute Maid Park as Houston defeated Correa’s new team, 4-2.
“It feels great to be back, see the guys again,” Correa said before the game, via MLB.com. “It’s a place I played so many games in my career, so many meaningful games. I just feel right, feels great.”
“I was definitely looking forward to it,” Correa added. “I have a great relationship with the guys in the clubhouse here in Houston, and that’s never going to change because I play for another team. I talked to them pretty much every day, we text a lot. We talk [about] hitting, we talk about the game, we talk about our families all the time. The relationship we built goes way past the baseball field. I was looking forward to seeing all of them.”