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Meet me in the tunnel if you have a problem

The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies turned the eighth inning of their game Friday night into a bench-emptying, garbage-laden, finger-pointing noise that spiced up a routine game – and could ignite more sparks this weekend.

It started when Phillies reliever Jose Alvarado threw down his glove and gestured towards Dominic Smith after knocking out the Mets outfielder with the tiebreaker at third base in the eighth. Smith pulled off his helmet and seemed ready to fight back against the pitcher until both teams spilled out of the excavation and broke up the dust before blows were thrown.

After the match – a 2-1 Phillies victory – Smith did not chop words when asked about Alvarado.

“I do not mind people pimping strikes and pimping things on the pitch. I have never been such a player, but I do not mind it; I love it,” Smith said. “But he pointed at me, came after me, something like that – I’m a grown man. Come meet me if you really have a problem and we can really deal with it.

“That’s how I look at that question. He was waiting for his team to grab him and so on. But I’m right there. He can meet me in the tunnel tomorrow if he really wants to come after it.”

Mets manager Luis Rojas said Alvarado – who hit Michael Conforto and created Smith and the Mets with moves earlier this month – was to blame for the dust.

“You could tell it was encouraging. He was trying to get his attention and trying to start things off,” Rojas said. “That was what made Dom return and go against him.”

The series between the NL East rivals resumes Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins said he does not expect the high tensions to boil over.

“I do not expect any transfer to happen tomorrow, except that it’s Phillies and Mets, and that’s what it is,” he said.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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