Tension mounts for Hall in Astros' loss to Phils

Tension mounts for Hall in Astros' loss to Phils

Tension mounts for Hall in Astros' loss to Phils
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Too early for bad blood? Maybe not. Some of it was displayed -- though rather briefly -- at Osceola County Stadium on Monday, during the Phillies' 7-6 win over the Astros.

In the bottom of the second, Astros second baseman Bill Hall took exception to a Cole Hamels fastball that buzzed him inside after he had stepped out. Hall took a few steps towards the mound and began jawing at Hamels, prompting home-plate umpire Laz Diaz to issue both sides a warning.

After his shaky start, Hamels brushed it off, saying he was just trying to speed the game up and that there are "no hard feelings."

"I don't know him personally," Hamels said about Hall, "but I do know he is a good guy."

Perhaps he would've felt differently after hearing what Hall told The Houston Chronicle after the game.

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"I don't know if he was mad because he gave up a homer [to Carlos Lee in the previous at-bat], or if he was mad because the umpire gave me time, but I'm not going to let him speed-pitch me," Hall told the newspaper. "Obviously, he threw a pitch in, and I'm not going to let him disrespect me, either. He kind of said something that I didn't like too much. It's over with.

"He's definitely a marked man for me now, so when I do some damage off him, I'm going to let him know I did some damage off him. I can guarantee that. ... If you disrespect me, I'm going to do my best to disrespect you back. Obviously not in a way to disrespect the game, but obviously I'm going to let him know when I face him."

Michael Martinez was the difference-maker after a key stolen base in the top of the ninth, when the center fielder raced home from second on a wild pitch by Fernando Rodriguez for the go-ahead run.

Hamels did struggle with his command in his fourth Grapefruit League start, giving up five runs on seven hits (three of them homers) in 3 2/3 innings. Prior to that, the lefty had given up just three runs in 10 Grapefruit League frames.

The Astros got on the board in the second thanks to a solo homer by Lee -- his second of the spring -- and an RBI double by catcher Carlos Corporan. In the fourth, Hamels gave up a two-run homer to Chris Johnson -- who finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored -- then a solo homer to former Phillies outfielder Jason Michaels.

Another former Phillie, Nelson Figueroa, started in his quest to win the fifth spot of the Astros' rotation. The 36-year-old right-hander gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits in four innings of work.

The Phillies pushed three runs across in the top of the third, with RBI doubles by Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard, and an RBI groundout from Raul Ibanez. In the fourth, John Mayberry Jr. doubled and scored on a throwing error while attempting to steal third, and Carlos Ruiz gave the Phillies their fifth run by scoring on Josh Barfield's sac fly.

Up next for Phillies: The Phils' next stop is Dunedin, Fla., where they'll take on the Blue Jays on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. ET, with the game available on an exclusive webcast on phillies.com. Getting the start will be right-hander Joe Blanton, who in three starts has given up four runs on nine hits in 11 2/3 innings (a 3.09 ERA). His last time out, against the Tigers on Wednesday, the 30-year-old gave up two runs in five frames. Tuesday's game will be followed by an off-day on Wednesday, when Roy Halladay throws in a Minor League game at the Carpenter Complex at 10 a.m.

Up next for Astros: A host of right-handers competing for the fifth spot in the Astros' rotation will take the mound against the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., on Tuesday at 12:05 p.m. CT -- Aneury Rodriguez, Jordan Lyles and Lance Pendleton. Rodriguez, a Rule 5 Draft pick, is starting the game in place of Wandy Rodriguez, who was scratched from his Tuesday start with mild shoulder tendinitis. The game will be available on MLB.TV.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.