The Blue Jays and Rangers got into a brawl in the eighth inning of Texas' 7–6 win on Sunday after Toronto rightfielder Jose Bautista went in hard to second base on a takeout slide and was punched in the face by Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor.
Bautista, who was hit by a pitch by Rangers reliever Matt Bush at the beginning of the inning, was at the center of the fight after his aggressive slide into Odor at second base on a double-play ball off of the bat of Blue Jays second baseman Justin Smoak. After the two exchanged words, Odor punched Bautista in the jaw, igniting a brawl that cleared the benches and delayed the game by several minutes.
After order had been restored, the umpires found Bautista in violation of the league’s new takeout slide rule, triggering an automatic double play that ended the inning. For their roles in the fight, Bautista, Odor and Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson were ejected, along with Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele.
Benches briefly cleared again in the bottom of the eighth after Jays reliever Jesse Chavez hit Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder with a pitch, leading to ejections for Chavez and acting Blue Jays manager DeMarlo Hale (who had taken over for John Gibbons, who had been ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes).
In his comments after the game, Bautista ripped the Rangers for hitting him, calling Texas' actions "cowardly" and criticizing the team for its "lack of leadership." Gibbons, meanwhile, called the Rangers "gutless." Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, who was not at the game, also had some strong words for Odor on Twitter.
Sunday's fight comes after the dramatic end to last October's AL Division Series between these two teams, when Bautista hit a three-run home run in Game 5 of the series to give Toronto the win and then emphatically flipped his bat after his homer.
– Kenny Ducey