DETROIT -- Calm down, citizens.

The kerfuffle between A's pitcher Grant Balfour and Tigers' batter Victor Martinez might have made for a quick sugar-rush-type buzz here at Comerica Park. It might have provided some good television clips. But really, nothing much happened.

The kerfuffle might also have been entertaining and amusing. But it didn't affect the game or the final result--a 6-3 victory by the A's. And in the clubhouses afterward, there was all but unanimous agreement that it won't affect anything in the next game.

You gotta wonder, though. What the heck happened when Balfour and Victor Martinez marched toward each other in anger during the ninth inning of Monday's playoff game? It sparked both teams to clear their benches for a few minutes of confused, non-confrontational congregating.

Home plate umpire Gary Darling stands between Oakland Athletics closing pitcher Grant Balfour (50) and Detroit Tigers’ Victor Martinez (41) during a
Home plate umpire Gary Darling stands between Oakland Athletics closing pitcher Grant Balfour (50) and Detroit Tigers' Victor Martinez (41) during a dispute in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich., on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013. Walking behind Martinez is A's catcher Derek Norris (36). Oakland defeated Detroit 6-3 and leads the series 2-1. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) ( JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO )

"It's just Balfour being Balfour," said A's catcher Stephen Vogt. "He's crazy and we love him for it."

Martinez must be a little nuts, too. Balfour, who is famous for talking to himself and cursing on the mound, never threw at the head or the hands of the Tigers' designated hitter. Balfour didn't even throw any inside pitches to Martinez, Detroit's leadoff batter in the ninth. But after hitting a foul ball, he suddenly began a fierce staredown at the mound.

Balfour caught sight of the stare, as if it were a poker hand. He met it and raised it, asking Martinez what the problem was. Not exactly in those words, of course. Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick jokingly described Balfour's language this way: "Not very age-appropriate."

Hearing those words, Martinez then took a few steps toward Balfour. Plate umpire Gary Darling showed a good quick first step to get between the two, players began running off the benches and then . . . there was a lot of confused milling about followed by confused dispersing. No one was ejected. Play resumed.

Martinez eventually hit a fly ball out to rightfield and there was another slight flurry of glares as he trotted back across the infield toward the home dugout.

"I don't think it was a big deal," said Vogt. "It was just two really good baseball players having a discussion. We're all smart enough to not let it escalate into anything else."

Over in the Detroit clubhouse, Tigers' outfielder Torii Hunter said that both men have fiery personalities and were just letting off steam — and that he didn't expect any of it would carry over into Tuesday's Game 4. Hockey dustups can create a little adrenaline for teams but this one didn't seem to do that.

In other words, this was the typical baseball non-brawl "brawl" that will provoke conversation and Tweets and talk-show chatter for six or seven hours . . . and then be easily forgotten.

It was certainly nothing compared to the true dustup these two teams had way back in 1972 during a playoff series, when A's batter Campy Campaneris was hit in the leg by Tigers' pitcher Lerrin LaGrow — after which Campaneris threw his bat toward LaGrow on the mound, causing him to duck the spinning piece of lumber and leading to a clearing of the benches and some serious shoves if not punches.

Players from that era must roll their eyes at Monday's silliness. Balfour was asked if he and Martinez had a history of past incidents. Balfour shook his head, shrugged and said: "We do now, I guess."

There is only one way Monday's business might leak into the future: If Balfour and Martinez face each other again in this series. But that might not ever happen. Balfour is a closer who usually just gets three outs and seldom pitches to more than three or four batters. He might not mesh with Martinez's place in the batting order until next season.

And if they do meet Tuesday or in a potential Game 5 on Thursday, nothing may happen, anyway. In postgame remarks, Balfour went out of his way to be complimentary of Martinez, suggesting the Tigers' ongoing lack of offense production as a team--they've scored just six runs in three games--might have contributed to the incident.

"He's a great competitor, a great hitter," Balfour said of Martinez. "We're here to play baseball. We're all fired up. Maybe he was frustrated."

Or maybe he just wanted to briefly distract Tiger fans from the fact that their team is down in the series, two games to one, on the verge of elimination. If so, mission accomplished. Detroit batters are certainly not succeeding at much else.

Contact Mark Purdy at mpurdy@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercPurdy.