Benches empty after Lofton, Beckett exchange words Print
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Thursday, 18 October 2007 20:22
MLB Headline News

 CLEVELAND (AP) -Josh Beckett stayed cool when his ex-girlfriend showed up to sing the national anthem.
Didn't bother him one bit when country singer Danielle Peck performed Thursday night.
``I don't make those (expletive) decisions,'' Beckett said after pitching Boston past the Cleveland Indians 7-1. ``Thanks for flying one of my friends to the game so she could watch it for free.''
Kenny Lofton, well, that was a different story.
Beckett took exception to Lofton's antics at the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning of Game 5 of the AL championship series, screaming at him and prompting both benches and bullpens to clear. No punches were thrown and nobody was ejected, and both teams left the field after a few minutes of milling about.
Beckett stayed sharp after the brief skirmish, limiting the Indians to one run over eight innings. He struck out 11, walked one and allowed five hits.
``There was just a little verbiage back and forth. Nothing happened,'' Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. ``Both teams ran out, looked at each other, ran back.''
Pitching to keep the Red Sox alive, Beckett was thrown a curveball before the game even started. The Indians brought Peck, an Ohio native, in to sing the national anthem and ``God Bless America.''
``An incredible coincidence,'' Indians vice president Bob DiBiasio said. ``Honestly.''
Peck was simply filling in for Taylor Swift, another country star who was originally scheduled to handle the singing duties.
``(Peck's) record company called and said she's got Ohio ties and we said, 'Perfect,''' DiBiasio said.
And it didn't bother him, Beckett said. Honest.
``She's a friend of mine,'' he said.
No, his problems were with Lofton.
The Indians hitter has been flipping his bat for years when he draws a walk. He did it on a 3-0 pitch from Beckett in the bottom of the fifth, apparently thinking he'd taken ball four.
Not so fast, plate umpire Gary Cederstrom said, calling a strike.
Lofton hit a fly ball to left on the 3-1 pitch, and Beckett began screaming at him as soon as the ball left his bat. Beckett continued screaming as Lofton ran to first, and the hitter began to head toward the mound after he was called out.
``He doesn't like it when I take my bat and flip it on a walk,'' Lofton said. ``He's the only pitcher who's had a problem with it. He was saying stuff I didn't like and I said something back. That's who he is. He's that kind of guy.''
Several Red Sox infielders immediately moved in to keep the two apart, and players on both benches and in the bullpens soon joined them.
Beckett and Lofton got into a similar argument during a game in 2005. Lofton, then with the Phillies, dropped his bat at home plate after Beckett walked him. He stopped halfway up the baseline after an agitated Beckett, pitching for the Marlins, appeared to say something in his direction. Both benches cleared, but no punches were thrown and no one was ejected.
``It was a lot of stuff,'' Beckett said. ``It kind of goes back before today. Those things have a way of working themselves out, though.''
This isn't the first dustup between the two teams in the ALCS, either. Several Indians were miffed after Manny Ramirez paused at first base to admire his long solo home run in Game 4 on Tuesday night. Ramirez, a former Indian, insisted he wasn't trying to show anybody up.
 

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