Skirmish breaks out at Rockies-Phillies game as Bryce Harper charges Jake Bird

Sunday’s series finale at Coors Field didn’t come without a little drama.

Both teams’ benches cleared in the seventh inning of the Rockies-Phillies game in an incident sparked by one of the game’s best players and a Rockies reliever.

The skirmish began when Jake Bird clapped his glove in the direction of the Phillies dugout after Bird got the Rockies out of the top of the seventh. Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper took exception, charging out of the visiting dugout and screaming at Bird.

“Jake is an emotional pitcher… and I think today the Phillies took exception with maybe a little bit too much emotion from Jake,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “That was a big moment in the game, and Jake let it out… and I get (Harper’s anger) from their side, too.”

Bird said he wasn’t clapping a Philadelphia fan in the stands or at the perennial all-star Harper, who already had his fingerprints all over the Phillies’ first two wins of the series. But Harper wasn’t happy, and after running towards the Rockies dugout and continuing to shout at Bird, the right-hander motioned to Harper to bring it.

“It’s a good team, and a big moment, and I got a little emotional out there — probably too emotional,” Bird said. “They took exception to it… Obviously I didn’t want to happen. That’s the first time in my life I’ve been involved in that. Not ideal.

“(Harper) is a great player who plays with emotion. And he’s a player I look up to. Obviously, in the future, I hope I get to compete against him and go head-to-head… It was nothing personal. I just got a little fired up.”

Both benches emptied at that point, with a flood of players between Harper and Bird in the area behind home plate. Both players were ejected. Bird said he “probably needs to tone (the emotion) down a bit, especially after today.”

Rockies catcher Elias Diaz acted as Bird’s body-guard initially, getting between Harper and the pitcher when Harper charged. Multiple Phillies coaches attempted to restrain the enraged Harper, who continued to shout at Bird, as other Phillies got into the faces of Rockies near the mouth of the home dugout. Even starting pitcher Kyle Freeland, in his cutoff t-shirt, dashed up from the training room for the end of the altercation.

“No matter what happened, we have each other’s backs no matter what,” Freeland said. “That showed (in the seventh).”

The inning before, Phillies manager Rob Thomson was ejected for arguing a call on Kyle Schwarber’s strikeout.

On Friday, Harper’s two-run double was the difference in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. Then on Saturday, Harper was caught by TV microphones jawing at Rockies fans after hitting a two-run homer in the ninth inning of Philadelphia’s 7-4 win. Harper went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on Sunday in the Rockies’ 4-0 win.

This story will be updated.

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