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Houston Astros and Oakland A’s clear the benches after outfielder Laureano was hit twice by a pitch

The benches were emptied after Oakland’s 7-2 win over the Astros on Sunday, unleashing tempers between rivals from the American League West months after Houston’s signal-stealing scandal was exposed by Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers.

Oakland’s Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch – for the third time in the three-game series – by Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh. Laureano began to exchange words with animated Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron, then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting towards him.

Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A’s reached outfielder Cintron, and a wild scene followed.

Players ran out of both dugouts to join the fight. A’s and Astros players who sat in the seats and observed the COVID-19 social distance protocols also rushed onto the field.

Oakland's Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch - for the third time in the three-game series - Humberto Castellanos (pictured) with one out in the seventh

Oakland’s Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch – for the third time in the three-game series – Humberto Castellanos (pictured) with one out in the seventh

Laureano is hit by Castellano's pitch

Laureano is hit by Castellano's pitch

Laureano is hit by Castellano’s pitch

Catcher Martin Maldonado # 15 of the Houston Astros steps ahead of Ramon Laureano # 22 of the Oakland Athletics, pointing to pitcher Humberto Castellanos # 72 (not shown) after Castelllanos hit Laureano with a pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning

Catcher Martin Maldonado # 15 of the Houston Astros steps ahead of Ramon Laureano # 22 of the Oakland Athletics, pointing to pitcher Humberto Castellanos # 72 (not shown) after Castelllanos hit Laureano with a pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning

Catcher Martin Maldonado # 15 of the Houston Astros steps ahead of Ramon Laureano # 22 of the Oakland Athletics, pointing to pitcher Humberto Castellanos # 72 (not shown) after Castelllanos hit Laureano with a pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning

Laureano is pictured attacking the Houston Astros dugout after being hit by the field

Laureano is pictured attacking the Houston Astros dugout after being hit by the field

Laureano is pictured attacking the Houston Astros dugout after being hit by the field

Laureano is stopped by Houston Astro's Dustin Garneau after Laureano attacks the dugout

Laureano is stopped by Houston Astro's Dustin Garneau after Laureano attacks the dugout

Laureano is stopped by Houston Astro’s Dustin Garneau after Laureano attacks the dugout

Players and coaches from both sides are depicted bumping into a couch clearing brawl

Players and coaches from both sides are depicted bumping into a couch clearing brawl

Players and coaches from both sides are depicted bumping into a couch clearing brawl

Laureano was sent off by plate umpire Ted Barrett, and the referee team could easily be heard yelling at the players to “go back to the dugout!” by a baseball field with no fans, in images reposted by sports journalists Dillard Barnhart.

Oakland batters were hit five times in the series, while no Houston hitters were looted.

A’s catcher Austin Allen also was ejected and Astros-manager Dusty Baker was pitched half an inning earlier. Houston lost its fifth in a row overall.

Ex-Astros player Fiers didn’t pitch this series after going public in November about Houston’s detailed scam.

A 2019 MLB investigation found that the Astros passed opponents ‘upcoming throws to their own hitters using a midfield camera, which would record the catchers’ hand signals.

That information was then passed to the dugout, where Astros players hit a trash can to indicate the field their teammate in the batter’s box should expect.

Fiers was part of the Astros that season and witnessed the cheating.

The Astros were fined up to $ 5 million, forfeited the first and second round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and both manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were each suspended for a year before being quickly fired by club owner Jim Crane.

Mike Fiers celebrates with his Houston teammates at the clubhouse after the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium

Mike Fiers celebrates with his Houston teammates at the clubhouse after the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium

Mike Fiers celebrates with his Houston teammates at the clubhouse after the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium

The Astros have won the past three division crowns, a World Series in 2017 and AL pennant last year. The A’s each won 97 in 2018 and ’19 to lose the AL wildcard game.

Fiers said earlier this year that he was facing death threats as a result of the whistling of Houston’s sign-stealing plan that recently tarnished that club’s 2017 World Series title.

“I don’t care,” Fiers, now a member of the Oakland Athletics, told the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday. ‘I’ve had many death threats. It’s just another thing on my plate.

“If I’m worried about any retaliation,” he added, “I’m not ready for the season.”

Athletic pitcher Mike Fiers says he has been threatened with death as a result of whistling Houston's sign-steel plan that recently tarnished the 2017 World Series title. Fiers was part of the Astros that season and witnessed the cheating

Athletic pitcher Mike Fiers says he has been threatened with death as a result of whistling Houston's sign-steel plan that recently tarnished the 2017 World Series title. Fiers was part of the Astros that season and witnessed the cheating

Athletic pitcher Mike Fiers says he has been threatened with death as a result of whistling Houston’s sign-steel plan that recently tarnished the 2017 World Series title. Fiers was part of the Astros that season and witnessed the cheating

Earlier this week, and somewhat predictably, the Astros and Dodgers nearly fell prey to their first meeting since news of the scandal broke.

While the two teams failed to practice proper social distance amid the fracas, no punches were given during Tuesday-evening’s game.

Dodgers-reliever Joe Kelly nearly hit Astros third baseman Alex Bregman with a 96 mph fastball, and made near-injury worse by pulling sarcastic faces at Houston’s dugout and telling shortstop Carlos Correa, ‘nice swing, b **** ! ‘ after a strikeout.

Kelly was banned from MLB for eight games on Wednesday following the incident.

Dodgers-reliever Joe Kelly nearly hit Astros third baseman Alex Bregman with a 96 mph fastball, and made worse of near-injury by pulling sarcastic faces in the Houston dugout

Dodgers-reliever Joe Kelly nearly hit Astros third baseman Alex Bregman with a 96 mph fastball, and made worse of near-injury by pulling sarcastic faces in the Houston dugout

Dodgers-reliever Joe Kelly nearly hit Astros third baseman Alex Bregman with a 96 mph fastball, and made worse of near-injury by pulling sarcastic faces in the Houston dugout

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