CINCINNATI REDS pitcher Amir Garrett sprinted with fists flying into a mass of Pittsburgh Pirates players during a mass brawl at a baseball game.
The relief pitcher started the fight as tempers spilled over during the ill-tempered match, where the Pirates were looking to end their longest losing streak for eight years.
In the ninth and final innings, relief pitcher Garrett, 27, was only in the game to see out the final few plays.
But he flipped, throwing down his glove and sprinting at the mass of players in black, before launching a windmill of punches.
The incident cleared both dugouts, as long-simmering tensions between the two teams were brought to a head.
But minutes earlier he witnessed Pittsburgh’s Keone Kela throw a fast ball at the head of team-mate Derek Dietrich.
Reds’ Jared Hughes was ejected for hitting Starling Marte, also in the ninth, as was Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell for arguing a strike call.
The act wound up the entire Cincinnati team, who have a long-standing rivalry with their Pennsylvania neighbours, who they accused of dirty tricks.
The Pirates won the game 11-4 to end their longest losing streak in eight years, but the game was sure to be overshadowed by the incident, while the Reds called for more protection from umpires.
Garrett said after the game: “We have history with them, so it gets to a point where nobody is protecting us.
“I can’t tell you really what happened, I was angry, it wasn’t really about baseball, it was about protecting my team-mates and protecting this brotherhood.
“I’m going to accept any punishment that I have as a man, I take on that responsibility.
When you have a friend who has a 90mph ball thrown at their head and nobody will do anything about it, we have to do something about it, whatever that takes.
Reds manager David Bell
“I apologise for my actions, but in the heat of things sometimes it gets the best of you.
“I definitely think they teach that as an organisational thing. I don’t think it’s right to throw that at somebody, you can really hurt somebody. The person that has the bat is defenceless.
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“That’s not something you should do. If you have a problem go and handle it like a man.”
Manager David Bell added: “When you have a friend who has a 90mph ball thrown at their head and nobody will do anything about it, we have to do something about it, whatever that takes.
“We have to be able to go out there and know that we’re protected.”