HOUSTON (AP) — Astros reliever Héctor Neris whizzed a pitch at Mariners slugger Ty France, and Seattle manager Scott Servais led his team toward a melee at home plate. Both sides shoved and shouted — except for cool-headed 21-year-old Julio Rodriguez, who wrapped up Neris in his arms and pulled him safely away from the scuffle.
The Mariners star rookie wasn’t as protective when stepped in the batters’ box moments later.
Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning moments after Servais was ejected for his role in a benches-clearing fracas, Cal Raleigh added a career-high four RBIs and the Mariners beat Houston 7-4 Monday night.
Rodriguez kept it calm during the tense ninth inning, when Neris drilled Ty France with a pitch, then he let out his emotions with a vicious yell near first base after connecting.
“After that whole situation and to be able to deliver for a team like that … I definitely was fired up,” he said. “I never really talk or yell during my homers like that. But given the situation I felt I needed to do it and kind of let all my emotions go out.”
The trouble began when with two outs in the ninth, when Neris plunked France in the back. Players and coaches on both sides began chirping at each other, and Servais led the way as Seattle’s bench emptied to confront the Astros near home plate.
“All I know is our best hitters is in there, it’s two out in the ninth and you throw the first pitch behind him,” Servais said. “It’s pretty obvious.”
Rodriguez pulled Neris away from the scrum, while Servais and Houston manager Dusty Baker were at the center of the pushing and shoving, with Servais pointing and shouting repeatedly at Astros first base coach Omar Lopez.
Servais and Lopez were ejected, and both benches were given warnings.
Rodríguez homered and…