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Rangers, Astros benches clear after McCullers throws behind Napoli

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Lance McCullers, Jr., threw behind Mike Napoli in the sixth inning tonight, and the benches cleared

Texas Rangers v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros benches cleared in the top of the sixth inning of tonight’s game in Houston after Astros pitcher Lance McCullers, Jr., threw a pitch behind Rangers first baseman Mike Napoli.

Andrew Cashner hit two Astros earlier in the game -- Jose Altuve and Yulieski Gurriel -- though neither appeared to be intentional. Nevertheless, the Astros apparently took issue with Cashner pitching inside, and with two outs in the sixth, McCullers threw a pitch behind the head of Napoli, who had hit a mammoth home run off of McCullers earlier in the game.

The result was benches clearing, a bunch of milling about, and d.l.’d Astros pitcher Collin McHugh yelling at former Astro Carlos Gomez from the Astros dugout.

One might reasonably wonder whether the Rangers are somewhat in the Astros’ heads at this point, given the dominance the team has shown over their I-45 rivals to the south the past two years. Alex Bregman tweeted (and then deleted) a dig at Rougned Odor during the WBC, and then offered this mis-spelled missive on the Tweetbox earlier today:

Its just game one of a four game set, so things could get more interesting as the series -- and the season, for that matter — progresses.