PITTSBURGH -- Four players -- two Pirates, two Brewers -- were handed suspensions on Tuesday by Major League Baseball for their roles in the on-field skirmish Sunday between the teams.
Gerrit Cole, the pitcher whose vocal reprimand of Carlos Gomez's running style lit the fuse fanned by others, stayed out of MLB's doghouse. That did not go down smoothly with some people, whose reaction went into the "How could the guy who started it all get off scot-free?" file.
Cole, while still repentant, begged to differ.
"By the time [Gomez] was done saying what he needed to say and I was done, we walked away -- and it escalated after that," Cole said Wednesday, while the suspensions of Gomez (three), Travis Snider (two) and Russell Martin (one) were pending appeals. Martin Maldonado opted to serve his five-game suspension.
"After we were done talking, he thought it was over, and I thought it was over as well," Cole went on. "I was surprised. Watching the replay later confirmed what I'd remembered -- walking away and not knowing what just happened."
The benches and bullpens had quickly spilled out, and in the resulting blob of bodies, Snider and Gomez clashed, and Maldonado leveled a blind punch on the Pirates outfielder.
"I don't want to sit here and not take blame," Cole said. "But neither do I want to say I went over there to try to incite a fight. That's not the position we were in: We were thin in the bullpen and I'm trying to go deep in the game, and I let my emotions get the best of me.
"I'm not going to dish blame on anybody. I did what I did, and I've got to wear it."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.