ARLINGTON, Texas - Major League Baseball suspended Houston Astros reliever Bryan Abreu for 2 games after hitting Texas Rangers OF Adolis Garcia with a pitch, causing the benches to clear during Game 5 of the ALCS.
During the bottom of the 8th inning, Abreu hit Garcia with a fastball.
Garcia confronted Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, wagging a finger in his face, and players from the benches and bullpen ran onto the field.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 20: Adolis Garcia #53 of the Texas Rangers argues with Martin Maldonado #15 of the Houston Astros after being hit by a pitch by Bryan Abreu #52 of the Houston Astros causing benches to clear during the eighth inning in Game
Abreu, Garcia and Astros manager Dusty Baker were ejected from the game following the incident.
In Garcia's previous at-bat he hit a three-run homer and walked slowly down the line before spiking his bat into the ground.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 20: Adolis Garcia #53 of the Texas Rangers argues with Martin Maldonado #15 of the Houston Astros after being hit by a pitch by Bryan Abreu #52 of the Houston Astros during the eighth inning in Game Five of the American Lea
The Rangers believed Abreu was throwing at Garcia in retaliation.
"I think we’re in the postseason. It’s the moment," Garcia said after the game. "You hit a ball like that, you’re going to celebrate. It’s where we’re at right now. If they’re trying to react to that, I don’t think that’s the correct way."
"I felt like that hit-by-pitch could've been worse," García said, "and I told him that was not right."
The Astros disputed the fact, saying that they would not have wanted to put a runner on base in a playoff situation.
"It didn’t make any sense to me," Baker said after the game of Abreu’s ejection. "We got a two-run game, and they explained to me that the guy just hit a three-run homer, but that was a mistake that he hit a three-run homer. The ball was down and in, and he wasn’t trying to go down and in.
"How do you prove intent? That’s what I don’t understand," Baker continued. "And I ain't been that mad in a long time. And I don't usually get mad about nothing."
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 20: Manger Dusty Baker #12 of the Houston Astros argues with the umpires after Bryan Abreu #52 was ejected from the game against the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning in Game Five of the American League Championship Se
"All six of the Major League Umpires deemed Abreu’s pitch to have been intentional," read the suspension notice from the MLB.
The Astros got the last laugh when second baseman Jose Altuve hit a 3-run homer in the top of the 9th to put Houston up 5-4.
The Astros now lead the series 3-2.
Abreu's suspension will go into effect for Game 6, unless the reliever appeals the decision.
The MLB also fined Garcia and Baker for their roles in the incident.
Rangers pitcher Matt Bush and Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who are not on their team's playoff rosters, were also fined and have been banned from sitting on their team's benches for the rest of the ALCS.
It was hardly the first time the Astros and Rangers have had issues with each other. Earlier this season, the benches cleared after several players were thrown at, and then Garcia hit a grand slam.
Abreu has been a valuable part of the Astros bullpen, posting a 1.75 ERA during the regular season.
Abreu appealed the decision and will be available for Game 6.