A June 16 article incorrectly said that Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson was less than two months from his 70th birthday. Robinson's birthday is Aug. 31. (Published 7/1/2005)
Nationals 6, Angels 3
Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
-- It started innocently enough. The Anaheim Angels held a two-run lead in the top of the seventh when Angels Manager Mike Scioscia summoned right-hander Brendan Donnelly from the bullpen. Washington Nationals Manager Frank Robinson climbed from the dugout, eyes trained on Donnelly -- and his glove.
Need some spice to the early part of your summer? Try Angel Stadium Tuesday night. Over the next five minutes, Donnelly was ejected, Robinson got in Scioscia's face, the glove in question was confiscated, the benches and bullpens cleared, and Jose Guillen -- the Nationals' right fielder and erstwhile Angel, who left Anaheim under controversial circumstances -- appeared to snap.
Whatever happened in the middle of it all, Guillen was there. In the ejection, the scrum and the result of the game. Apparently spurred on by the controversy, the Nationals used Guillen's two-run home run to tie things in the eighth and Junior Spivey's RBI single to take the lead, snatching a 6-3 victory to extend their lead in the National League East to a season-high two games -- and leaving plenty of controversy behind.
It all made for quite a scene in front of a crowd of 43,874, which buzzed about the altercation, then lustily booed Guillen's every move -- when he caught balls in the outfield, when he came to the plate in the eighth. The only time he silenced them was by ripping the homer off Scot Shields, the shot that tied the score, his first homer since May 25. Guillen, of course, was traded in the offseason from Anaheim to Washington at least in part because of an incident in which he tossed his helmet toward Scioscia after being replaced by a pinch runner last September.
Tuesday's incident was fascinating, particularly because Donnelly hadn't thrown a pitch. The Angels took a 3-1 lead against starter Livan Hernandez -- who lasted 52/3 innings -- with a pair of two-out hits in the sixth from Darin Erstad and Vladimir Guerrero that broke a 1-1 tie.
Angels starter Ervin Santana, appearing in just his third major league game, kept the Nationals quiet for much of the night, allowing just a run in the sixth before walking the leadoff man, Spivey, to start the seventh. Catcher Brian Schneider hit into a fielder's choice, and Robinson called on Carlos Baerga to pinch-hit for shortstop Cristian Guzman.
That sent Scioscia to the mound to get Santana, who had done his job, and left to a rousing ovation. Donnelly, who allowed a pair of walk-off homers on the Angels' recent road trip, entered to face Baerga. Robinson was waiting for him.
After Donnelly warmed up, Robinson indicated to home plate umpire Tim Tschida that he wanted Donnelly's glove checked -- before he threw a pitch to Baerga. Tschida took Donnelly's glove, and all four umpires converged in front of the mound. Scioscia came on the field, and was told to stand aside while the umpires conferred, which they did for perhaps two minutes.
Scioscia was then invited to join the conversation, and began speaking in an animated fashion to Tschida. But when he emerged from the huddle, he signaled with his right arm to the Angels' bullpen, calling for Shields. Donnelly, ejected for having a "foreign subject" on his glove, started toward the dugout without his glove, which was taken by an official through a door behind home plate.
That's when Scioscia walked toward Robinson, still standing on the first base line. Scioscia made a brief argument, then turned back toward the Angels' dugout. Robinson, less than two months shy of his 70th birthday, followed, pointing and yelling. The two men nearly came face to face, and the benches emptied.
In the middle of it, something set off Guillen. Many of the players were on the outskirts of the horde, and Robinson and Scioscia -- as upset as they both were -- were unlikely to come to blows. But Guillen was suddenly a hurricane. Bench coach Eddie Rodriguez and Jose Martinez, a bullpen catcher and batting practice pitcher for the Nationals, had to manhandle Guillen back into the dugout.
The gamesmanship wasn't over. Scioscia had the glove of Nationals reliever Gary Majewski checked before the bottom of the seventh, but Majewski remained in the game. Then, the worst-case scenario for the Angels -- Guillen as the hero. Shields opened the eighth by hitting Ryan Church with a pitch, and Guillen followed with a screaming line shot to left, into the Angels' bullpen.
With one out, the Nationals' rally continued when Orlando Cabrera, the Angels' shortstop, booted a ball hit by Vinny Castilla. Wil Cordero singled Castilla to third, and Spivey followed with a sharp single to right, making it 4-3. Schneider drove home the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly, and the Nationals added another -- on another error by Cabrera, the former Montreal Expo -- in the ninth.
There is one more game remaining in this series. And as much as Guillen has decided that "The past is the past" would serve as his mantra when dealing with questions about Anaheim, he made sure Tuesday night that the past would resurface.