Mexico, Canada brawl at WBC, and it looks like Dodgers third baseman Luis Cruz started it.

A benches-clearing brawl at today’s World Baseball Classic game between Mexico and Canada appeared to begin when Dodgers third baseman Luis Cruz signaled for a hit batter.

Canada’s Chris Robinson laid down a successful bunt for a base hit with his team leading 9-3. Cruz picked up the ball and had the following message for pitcher Arnold Leon:

Even after both benches were warned, Leon hit the next batter, Rene Tosoni. Mayhem ensued:

Dodgers first baseman and Mexican captain Adrian Gonzalez is in the middle of the fray. In the second video, you can clearly see him being restrained by Canada first-base coach (and still massive) Larry Walker. Walker told reporters afterward that he told Gonzalez “You’re too important to the game.”

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan has the blow-by-blow:

Cruz threw a punch at Canada’s Scott Mathieson, starting the brawl that splintered in a half-dozen directions. … Canada’s Jay Johnson punched Eduardo Arredondo. Mexico’s Alfredo Aceves tangled with multiple players from Canada. The brawl seemed to end before players started another fracas, though that quickly died down. Leon, Aceves and Arredondo were ejected, along with Canada’s Pete Orr, Johnson and Tosoni. Over the public-address system, announcers in English and Spanish urged fans to calm down and threatened immediate arrest for those who refused to comply.

Cruz was not ejected, which mystified some observers. Dodgers pitcher Javy Guerra, who was chosen to play for the Mexican team before being ruled ineligible, defended his teammate:

 

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.