Bad blood boils over during Orioles-Red Sox series
BALTIMORE — A spikes-high slide. A near beanball. Harsh talk in the clubhouse.
The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles soared to a new level over the weekend, and there’s no telling what might happen when they soon meet again.
A tempestuous three-game series between these AL East foes wound up with Orioles star Manny Machado seeing a fastball sail behind his head and Matt Barnes getting ejected for throwing it Sunday in Boston’s 6-2 victory.
The high, very inside pitch came two days after Machado spiked Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia with an aggressive slide.
Pedroia watched from the dugout for a second straight day with knee and ankle injuries. Machado apologized with a text message on Friday night, but that evidently wasn’t the end of it.
“That’s on them,” Machado said. “Whatever happened today, I’m going to keep (being) me.”
When Machado batted in the sixth inning, Eduardo Rodriguez threw three pitches down and in near the knees. Machado came up again in the eighth and Barnes’ fastball whizzed behind Machado and hit his bat. The ball hit Machado and rolled foul, and plate umpire Andy Fletcher tossed Barnes.
“I would never intentionally throw at someone’s head. That’s kind of a line you don’t cross,” Barnes said.
Boston manager John Farrell — who on Saturday called the league office to discuss about what he called “an illegal slide” by Machado — insisted Barnes’ wayward pitch was nothing more than an accident.
“He was trying to take a four-seamer in and above his hands and the pitch got away from him,” Farrell said.
But Orioles first baseman Chris Davis thought the fastball was intentionally directed at Machado’s head.
“I think it was completely obvious,” Davis said. “I haven’t seen a guy miss that bad in a while — behind a guy’s head.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter appeared reluctant to criticize the Red Sox, but said, “The courage it takes not to retaliate a lot of times in life is a lot more challenging than doing what ended up happening today.”
During Farrell’s argument with Fletcher, Pedroia was standing on the top step in the dugout and whistled to catch Machado’s attention. He mouthed the words “It’s not me,” evidently trying to show he was not seeking revenge. Machado acknowledged Pedroia and later pointed to his head.
“I had nothing to do with that. That’s not how you do that, man,” Pedroia said afterward. “I’m sorry to him and his team. If you’re going to protect guys, you do it right away.”
After the game resumed, Machado hit Joe Kelly’s first pitch for an RBI double to make it 6-1.
Machado ended up making the last out, hitting a popup on a pitch from Craig Kimbrel, who got his seventh save.
The Red Sox and Orioles play again May 1 at Fenway Park. Asked whether the teams will put this behind them by then, Davis said, “Honestly, if you ask anybody in here, we’re already past it. We didn’t agree with what happened, we didn’t appreciate it but we can’t let those things dwell.”
Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez homered on successive pitches in a four-run first inning, and Andrew Benintendi had a career-high five hits to help Boston avert a three-game sweep.
Mitch Moreland also homered for the Red Sox, who came in with a major-league low eight home runs. All the long balls were off Kevin Gausman (1-2), who found himself in a 4-0 hole after throwing only seven pitches.
Rodriguez (1-1) allowed one hit over six innings, walking five and striking out seven. Obtained in the 2014 trade that sent Andrew Miller to the Orioles, Rodriguez is 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA in six career starts at Camden Yards.
Not only did the Red Sox play a second straight game without Pedroia, but third baseman Pablo Sandoval left with a sprained right knee.
Red Sox: Farrell says because there’s still some swelling in Pedroia’s knee and ankle areas, he will “go through some imaging” Monday in Boston. “At this point, it warrants a further look,” Farrell said. … LHP David Price (elbow) participated in a long-toss session Sunday and will pitch a few simulated innings at Fenway Park on Monday.
Orioles: Closer Zach Britton (forearm strain) will start throwing Monday after having his hand examined.
Red Sox: After an off day Monday, Boston opens a season-high, 10-game homestand Tuesday night in a matchup with the Yankees.
Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 5.51 ERA) goes up the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series. The Rays are 1-6 on the road.