(Don't tell Me These Games aren't REAL)


LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers nearly came to blows after Josh Beckett hit Magglio Ordonez in the side of the head with a breaking ball.

Mark Prior had his own problems on the mound -- he couldn't get the Kansas City Royals out.

Ordonez was hit in the helmet by a pitch Saturday, sending the Detroit slugger to the hospital and sparking a testy exchange between two of the AL's top teams in Lakeland, Fla.

Beckett plunked Gary Sheffield with a first-inning pitch and nailed Ordonez in the third, forcing him from the game. He was treated at a hospital.

Detroit reliever Todd Jones then threw behind Boston's J.D. Drew in the fifth, and the benches and bullpens emptied. Players converged near home plate, but no punches were thrown.

Jones and Tigers manager Jim Leyland were ejected. In the clubhouse after Detroit's 7-6 loss, Ordonez wore a bandage that covered much of his head.

"He was groggy, but that was to be expected," Leyland said. "Josh throws a hard breaking ball. I'm sure he won't play tomorrow. I'm sure he'll have a headache."

Ordonez declined to comment.

Red Sox reliever Travis Hughes also hit Chris Shelton with a pitch in the eighth. Eric Hinske's grand slam off Justin Verlander keyed Boston's five-run first inning.


The Sox will next play the Tigers @ Fenway on Monday May 14th, for a 4 Game Series.

***High, and INSIDE***