CLEVELAND (AP) — Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox and José Ramírez of the Cleveland Guardians exchanged punches at second base Saturday night, triggering a long, bench-clearing melee in the sixth inning that led to six ejections.

Ramírez connected with a wild right hand to the face of Anderson, dazing the shortstop and knocking him to the dirt. Both benches and bullpens poured onto the field, leading to some chaotic moments in one of the nastiest fights in the majors in recent years.

“It’s not funny, but boys will be boys,” said Guardians manager Terry Francona, who was ejected following the fracas.

Francona wasn’t exactly sure what prompted the Anderson-Ramírez fight, but said that before the brawl, Anderson had been told by one of the umpires to stop jawing at Guardians rookie Gabriel Arias.

Ramírez and Anderson likely face suspensions, and perhaps other participants as well. The teams play their series finale Sunday afternoon.

Ramírez said he felt Anderson was being disrespectful. On Friday night, Anderson pushed Guardians rookie Brayan Rocchio off the bag at second following a slide, leading to a call that was controversially reversed by the umpires.

“He said he wanted to fight and I had to defend myself,” Ramírez said through a translator.

Francona, third-base coach Mike Sarbaugh and closer Emmanuel Clase were tossed along with Chicago manager Pedro Grifol. There were multiple flare-ups on the infield and in foul territory. It took 15 minutes before order was restored.

The altercation began when Ramírez slid headfirst into second with an RBI double and Anderson stood over him, straddling the All-Star third baseman. When Ramírez got up, he pointed his finger in Anderson’s face and yelled, prompting them to square off.

Anderson dropped his glove and threw the first punch before Ramírez countered with his shot to the Chicago star’s jaw.

Anderson had to be forcibly taken into the dugout by members of the coaching staff, but returned to the field several minutes later from the clubhouse. Chicago teammate Andrew Vaughn physically carried Anderson down the steps following the latter outburst.

Sarbaugh and Clase were the primary figures in subsequent escalations during the delay.

The White Sox held a 5-1 lead when the game was delayed.

After Anderson went down, he popped up incensed and tried to get at Ramírez but couldn’t break free from several teammates trying to calm him down.

Tempers temporarily calmed before Francona and Grifol had words, leading to pushing and shoving by players and coaches on both teams as the crowd roared.

“I think he was more yelling at me and I yelled back,” Francona said.

Grifol didn’t want to comment directly about the ugly incident.

“There are a lot of people upset,” he said. “Thank God I haven’t heard of any news out of the trainer’s room. I’m not going to talk about it. I’m going to let MLB figure this out. They’ve got some work to do.”

AP Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed to this report.

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