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Mets' Piazza begins bench-clearing brawl

Mets catcher Mike Piazza started a bench-clearing brawl Wednesday night when he charged the mound after being hit by a pitch from Dodgers reliever Guillermo Mota.

Piazza and Mota had a shoving match last year in spring training after the pitcher hit Piazza in the hip with a pitch. He waited until Mota was coming off the field in the eighth inning and grabbed him by the jersey.

This time, Mota's first pitch to Piazza in the sixth inning was inside, and his second hit Piazza in the back of the shoulder.

Piazza immediately charged the mound with his right fist cocked for a punch, and Mota threw his glove at him and began backpedaling.

Both benches emptied, with Mets outfielder Jeromy Burnitz chasing Mota after Piazza was restrained on the mound by two Dodgers. Mota made it to the dugout without begin caught.

Piazza yelled at Mota while being restrained by coaches and umpires. Twice he tried to charge the first-base dugout but was held back.

Mota and Piazza were ejected. No punches appeared to land during the fight. The Dodgers beat the Mets 13-6 in a split-squad game.

Piazza left while the game was still going without speaking to reporters. Mota also left during the game and did not comment.

After Mota hit Piazza last March 28, he said he told Piazza "I'm sorry" and "I didn't mean to do that" and Piazza replied, "Throw the ball in the middle" and clutched Mota near the neck with one hand, then both hands.

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