What should have been a game marked by beautiful returns for two sorely-missed Astros stars almost turned ugly Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.

In the top of the fourth inning, the Texas Rangers were handing the ‘Stros a butt-whooping thanks to seven runs scored, including a grand slam by Adolis Garcia, to make it a 13-3 game at that point.

Marcus Semien, who was one of the baserunners trotting home during that sequence, took an unorthodox approach to scoring by slowing down and hopping atop home plate with both feet.

This didn’t sit well with Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, who got in Semien’s face only for Garcia to get in between them.

Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado and Texas Rangers’ Adolis Garcia argue as the benches clear following Garcia’s grand slam on July 26, 2023, in Houston.AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox

Sure enough, that caused both benches and bullpens to clear as jawing continued. The confrontation didn’t last too long, with the action dying down after a minute.

Umpires ejected Maldonado and Semien from the game.

Houston entered Wednesday night’s contest just one game back of Texas for the American League West’s top spot. The Astros were also hoping the returns of Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve from injury would improve their odds of grabbing a share of the division’s first place.

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