DETROIT -- Following Grant Balfour's ninth-inning run-in with Detroit's Victor Martinez in Oakland's 6-3 Game 3 victory in the American League Division Series on Monday, A's manager Bob Melvin didn't feel the need to speak with his veteran closer about the benches-clearing incident.
"I only had a brief conversation with him in the training room after the game, just about what transpired," Melvin said Tuesday in advance of Game 4, "but nothing more.
"I've probably had a couple conversations with Balfour over the years. Now, you also understand that's how he gets himself motivated and it's just kind of who he is. He's certainly not talking to a player. He's talking to himself, and I think, at times, the opposing player can certainly think he is talking to him. Yesterday was probably a little different. It's not like this is the first time he's done it, and he's been that way even before he came to us. You do have some conversations from time to time about how things look and what the perception is."
The drama began when Martinez fouled off a 1-2 pitch from Balfour and intently stared down the Australian closer, who said he then told the Tigers' designated hitter, "Hey, man, you want to stare me down like that and you've got a problem, then come on out."
Martinez did, words were exchanged, and benches emptied.
"You would think maybe more after a pitch that brushed somebody, but it surprised everyone in that it transpired in the way it did," said Melvin. "Again, he's just trying to fire himself up, and a little misunderstanding. There's a little bit more drama, just the way things are, in the postseason, so it's maybe quicker to get out of hand that way."
"We've all seen Balfour when he pitches," said Josh Reddick. "He's yelling at baseballs, blades of grass, the mound, who knows. I think it was the heat of the moment, and Victor took it the wrong way. Balfour doesn't like to get stared down and he pretty much wins the staring contest 100 percent of the time, and he didn't appreciate it.
"But I don't see it carrying over when a team is on the verge of elimination. I highly doubt they're going to hit somebody to put him on. I know we're not going to do that to give them a chance to come back."