NEW YORK -- Francisco Rodriguez is well aware of his own temper. And now Willie Harris is, too.
After Rodriguez plunked Harris with a pitch in the ninth inning of the Mets' 5-2 loss to the Nationals on Sunday, the two exchanged words, inciting a bases-clearing incident that defused as quickly as it occurred.
"When you're in that situation, you pretty much snap and you're angry," Rodriguez said. "You don't think. You just react in that situation. That's what I did."
With a man on first base and one out in the ninth, Rodriguez hit Harris in the left forearm with a cut fastball that bore in on the left-handed hitter. On his way to first base, Harris said he remarked out loud how much the pitch stung.
Rodriguez, believing Harris was speaking to him, walked toward the first-base line and exchanged words with him, prompting both benches and bullpens to clear -- all for what both parties chalked up to a misunderstanding.
"I don't think he hit me on purpose," Harris said. "I think he took what I said by it hurting, he thought it was directed toward him. That's why he said what he said to me. And I said it back to him. I mean, I'm a man. If I feel like I'm wrong, I'll say I'm wrong. In that situation, I wasn't wrong."
"If he said that in frustration, and he goes to first base without looking at me the way he did, I might grab the ball and go back to the mound," Rodriguez said. "But the way he reacted and the way that he stared at me, I didn't like it."
No punches were thrown and no ejections were issued. But the scene seemed serious, if only for a few moments.
"He was upset," Rodriguez said. "The hitters don't really want to get hit, and he said something. I took it in a bad way, and you guys saw what happened after that."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.