McCann confronts Brewers’ Gomez over antics after home run

Braves opponents be warned: Preen at your own risk.

Brewers slugger Carlos Gomez found Braves catcher Brian McCann standing in front of home plate blocking his path Wednesday night after Gomez hit a home run and yapped at pitcher Paul Maholm during his entire trot around the bases in the first inning of a game at Turner Field.

Both benches cleared as McCann and Gomez shouted at each other from close range, and there was shoving between players from both sides before order was restored.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and Gomez both were ejected, Freeman for throwing a punch or punches, according to the umpires. Freeman said he didn’t throw any punches and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said the team would fight it if there is any suspension levied.

Braves backup catcher Gerald Laird was also ejected, although it wasn’t immediately known how his role differed from others who came off the bench.

Gomez had walked for seven or eight steps after hitting the bases-empty home run, and didn’t stop staring and shouting at Maholm during his entire trip around the bases, except while yelling back at Freeman.

It was the second time in two weeks that McCann let an opposing batter know he didn’t appreciate the hitter showing up his pitcher after a homer. On Sept. 11 at Miami, Marlins rookie pitching sensation Jose Fernandez, after his first career homer, took a slow trip around the bases and spit at third base, after exchanging words earlier with Braves third baseman Chris Johnson.

McCann stopped him after Fernandez crossed the plate and told him, in so many words, to run around the bases next time without showboating and disrespecting the opponent.

Both Fernandez and Marlins manager Mike Redmond apologized after that game for the rookie’s actions. Fernandez said McCann had addressed him not as if to start a fight, but to let him know his behavior was unacceptable.

On Wednesday, despite blocking Gomez’s path to the plate – the hitter never touched home plate, even after the skirmish – McCann wasn’t ejected, perhaps an indication of how extraordinary were Gomez’s antics during his trip around the bases.

Maholm faced Gomez plenty of times during 2010-2012 when Maholm pitched for the Pirates and Cubs. Gomez is 9-for-20 with two homers in his career against the left-hander, and Maholm hit him with a pitch in the leg during a June 23 game at Milwaukee.

After Freeman was ejected, Johnson switched to first base, Elliot Johnson moved from second base to third base, and Dan Uggla entered the game at second base for the Braves.