Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine liked what he saw from his team in the ninth inning -- the fight, spirit and adrenaline.
He wasn't talking about their play, though, after the Red Sox failed for the fourth time this season to eclipse the .500 mark with a 7-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.
Valentine was describing his team's passion during a benches-clearing scrum in the ninth inning when reliever Franklin Morales hit Luke Scott with a pitch, sending both teams storming onto the field and tempers flaring.
''They were out there, we were out there. I liked the spirit of the guys going out there,'' Valentine said. ''I had a little adrenaline going and the guys had some adrenaline going, so that's good. Nothing wrong with that.''
It wasn't only one pitch that sparked this scuffle, just another chapter in the long-running feud between these teams. They had a brawl in 2008 and another a few years earlier.
Morales insists he was just trying to go inside with the first pitch of Scott's at-bat, a two-seamer that sailed behind the designated hitter's back.
Three pitches later, the benches and bullpens were empty after he nailed him in the hip.
''I tried to make my pitch inside and I missed and said I'm sorry,'' Morales said. ''I don't try to hit any player, no.
''He don't say anything to me,'' he added of Scott. ''He tried to look at me, like, `What happened?' I don't try to hit anybody. I missed the pitch. I don't try to do that on purpose.''
Valentine had another, more intriguing hypothesis, referencing Scott's comments earlier this season when he called Fenway Park a ''dump.'' Scott eventually clarified his statement by saying it is just a difficult place to work.
''Maybe it was the ghost of Fenway past remembering that he bad-mouthed all our fans and our stadium or something, just directing the ball at his leg,'' Valentine mused.