By Bruce Levine–

CHICAGO (CBS) — A full-blown bench-clearing brawl Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field was the end result of bad blood between the White Sox and Royals.

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The fight — which itself had three moments of escalation after the benches emptied — began when Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura taunted Chicago lead-off man Adam Eaton as he grounded out to the mound for the third out of the seventh inning. The battle was then on, as words between the two players caused both benches and bullpens to storm the field in full battle mode.

“What happened was we have two competitive teams scratching for the same goal,” Eaton said, trying to down play the free-for-all on the field. “Sometimes it gets the best of you. Ventura is a heck of a competitor. I respect the heck out of him. I am a competitor as well. Sometimes boys will be boys. That was a situation we had some exciting moments and had some adrenaline going.”

Three different waves of the fight ensued, the result of 60-some uniformed personnel literally going face to face. With only four umpires in charge of crowd control, they had little chance to get the teams separated.

Pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale were the White Sox players ejected. Ventura, Edison Volquez and outfielder Lorenzo Cain were kicked out as well on the Royals’ side. At one point, Samardzija charged at Cain, only to bowl into Royals third-base coach Mike Jirschele.

The history of the teams’ dislike for each other goes back to Opening Day in Kansas City. Samardzija hit two Royals batters, and the whole series turned into a hit-batter-for-hit-batter exchange.Warnings were given in each of the next two games after the opener.

Meanwhile, the Royals swept the season-opening series from the White Sox. Kansas City had the last laugh Thursday too, as it won 3-2 in 13 innings on an Eric Hosmer RBI double.

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The pitchers were at it again. Starting for the White Sox, Sale hit Mike Moustakas with a pitch near the top of his shoulder that also grazed his jaw in the fifth inning. Moustakas lie motionless for several seconds before taking his base.

Chicago’s Jose Abreu was also hit by Kansas City.

After the seventh-inning fracas, Sale expressed surprise at being ejected.

“I did not hear or see it,” Sale said after he learned he was thrown out of the game along with Samardzija. “I came inside and then found out. It was a big mess. I don ‘t know why (I was ejected). I will ask around and find out.”

The Royals have had chippy events in four different series this season, including the two with the White Sox. In Thursday’s main event, Samardzija was involved in at least two of the escalating scrums. It could very well lead to a suspension, which the Royals players figure to face as well.

“That is not in the scouting report, but I have seen it on TV,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said about the Royals’ penchant for drama this season. “We will figure (the suspensions out) later. We were just trying to win a game. I could not tell you who was doing what.”

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Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.