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D-backs’ Ian Kennedy on pitch to Zach Greinke: Wanted to send a message, but not trying to hit him

Arizona Diamondbacks’ right-hander Ian Kennedy was cruising Tuesday through the first 5 1/3 innings of work, until one pitch changed the course of the game and his entire night.

With the D-backs up 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Kennedy went inside with a two-strike fastball to Los Angeles Dodgers’ rookie sensation Yaisel Puig, but the ball went a little too inside and clipped the outfielder’s nose. Puig went down for several minutes and was attended to by the Dodgers’ medical staff before finally taking his base.

“With two strikes I was just trying to go inside,” Kennedy said. “I don’t know where it hit him. I thought I got him in the shoulder, but by his reaction I guess I got him somewhere in the face. I’m just trying to go inside there with two strikes.

“With two strikes, I definitely don’t want to hit a guy and put someone like him on. Like I said, it got a little in and just nicked him a little bit, I don’t know.”

While the pitch came and went without much fanfare — outside of some boos from the Dodger Stadium crowd — the Dodgers, and more specifically starting pitcher Zach Greinke, were none to pleased with the incident.

In the top of the seventh, Greinke wasted little time retaliating, as he hit the first batter to step into the box, Miguel Montero, square in the back with a 2-1 fastball.

Both benches cleared briefly, but no punches were thrown by either team.

“I don’t know what that was all about. Looks like whatever was going on with Miggy and Greinke I don’t know, looks like he’s had that in the history in the past,” said Kennedy, referring to the brawl Greinke was at the center off back on April 13 with the San Diego Padres. “Obviously [the pitch to Puig] was not intentional on my part, just tried to throw inside. What he did to Miggy was obviously not right.”

Unfortunately the payback didn’t end there. Trying to right a wrong, Kennedy took matters into his own hands when Greinke stepped in with one out in the bottom half of the inning.

The 28-year-old’s first pitch to Greinke was a high-and-tight fastball that hit the Dodgers’ right-hander around the neck area below his helmet. Kennedy was instantly ejected, and what followed was an ugly seven-minute brawl with the likes of Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, Matt Williams, Turner Ward, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire at the center of the action.

In all, three players (Kennedy, Puig and Ronald Benasario) and three coaches (Gibson, Ward and McGwire) were tossed from the game, and afterwards Kennedy spoke about the pitch that incited the basebrawl.

“I wanted to throw inside to kind of send the message but not to hit the guy,” said Kennedy. “Like I said, it got away from me a little bit, but I was really just trying to go inside. I don’t think it was right what he did to Miggy.”

“I honestly had no idea it was that high until I saw the replay. I was trying to go inside, but I wasn’t trying to hit him that high.”

In 2012, Kennedy led the National League with 14 hit by pitches. After Tuesday’s start, he once again leads the league with eight on the season.

There has been no word from Major League Baseball as of Wednesday morning on possible fines or suspensions.

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