It all started in Game 6 of the NLCS last season, when San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez plunked Philadelphia Phillies star Chase Utley, inciting a massive brawl on the field.

Ironically, Sanchez just happened to be making his first trip to the mound against the Phillies on Friday since hitting the disabled list in late June.

But the ensuing bench-clearing brawl between the Giants and Phillies this time around wasn’t between Sanchez and Utley.

It was between reliever Ramon Ramirez and Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.

In the top of the sixth inning on Friday, with the Phillies comfortably leading, 8-2, Victorino came to the plate, already with a home run and a single to his name.

Whether Ramirez intentionally plunked him or not when he stepped into the batter’s box is debatable, but Victorino certainly thought it was pretty clear.

Said Victorino, via ESPN:

“Yeah, absolutely, I think he did. That’s why I took a step forward. I had no intentions of going out there and charging the mound. I just wanted to go out there and get an answer.”

So, just wanted an answer, that’s all, right?

Well, not exactly.

As Victorino approached Ramirez, catcher Eli Whiteside began hopping up and down between the two like he was preparing for a boxing match.

When the Phillies’ Placido Polanco came rushing onto the field out of nowhere, a brawl was about to take place.

Whiteside tackled Polanco to the ground, which caused a swarm of black, orange, red and blue to storm out onto the field, capped off by Victorino colliding with Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens.

The result was three ejections: Ramirez, Victorino and Whiteside.

On top of that, radio host Tony Bruno, a known die-hard Phillies fan, sent this tweet, since deleted, after the brawl:

“gutless #!@%*# Giants. Bochy is a coward for having his illegal alien pitcher hit a guy since mighty Frisco boys …”

Bruno did apologize for his comments…well, kind of:

“I did remove my post and apologize for my comments regarding illegal aliens. I was angry and on the air and I stand behind my comments that Bruce Bochy is a coward, as are all managers who order pitchers to throw at guys just because their pitchers can’t get a guy out. All of you people resorting to name calling are more classless and vile.”

Folks, a legitimate National League rivalry has been born.

The Giants unseated the favorite Phillies in the National League last season; now the Phillies are looking for payback.

Two games into the Giants’ homestand, the Phillies have made an indelible impression on the Giants already, winning both games and adding a brawl, to boot.

Funny thing is, the Los Angeles Dodgers seem but a distant memory for the Giants now.

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