The benches cleared in Sunday’s Toronto Blue Jays-Kansas City Royals game after several batters were hit by pitches.
Two Kansas City batters were hit by pitches in Saturday’s game and home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued a warning to both benches after Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson was hit by a pitch in the first inning Sunday. Donaldson saw two more pitches up and in, in the third and seventh innings, but the pitcher was not ejected in either instance.
The second inside pitch to Donaldson came directly after Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was hit by a pitch, prompting Toronto manager John Gibbons to come out of the dugout and ask Wolf why Royals pitcher Ryan Madson had not been ejected.
In the top of the next inning, Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez hit Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar in the leg with a pitch and was ejected, at which point both benches emptied. Gibbons came back onto the field and joined the scrum.
Ben Zobrist, the next Kansas City batter, hit a two-run home run to centerfield off Roberto Osuna that cut the Toronto lead to one. The Jays added two runs in the bottom of the eighth, though, and Osuna retired the Royals in order in the ninth for the save, giving Toronto a 5–2 win.
After the game, players and coaches from both teams were no more amicable in their comments to the media.
Royals manager Ned Yost denied that any of his pitchers hit batters intentionally, which led Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista to say he had lost respect for Yost.
"None of [the inside pitches] were intentional on our part," Yost said to MLB.com. "It's part of the game. [The Blue Jays] are as good an offensive team as you're going to face. They have tremendous power, but they all dive to the inside of the plate which makes them susceptible to inside pitches."
Royals starter Edinson Volquez, who hit Donaldson once and brushed him back with another pitch, had harsh words for the Blue Jays’ All-Star. "He was crying like a baby," Volquez said. "He's not Barry Bonds. He's got three years in the league."
Donaldson also sounded off.
"When you give a warning like that and you see balls continually thrown around the head area, and then a ball that hits Tulowitzki in the chest, pretty much, it's one of those things where you can't question intent anymore," Donaldson said. "There has to be repercussions for you giving a warning at the beginning, and I think that's where he went wrong at it."
Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey, who got the win Sunday after allowing two earned runs in seven innings, said he felt as though the Royals were frustrated by the Jays.
“I think they’re used to pushing people around,” Dickey said, according to The Canadian Press. “So when they come onto the playground and there’s a kid that is bigger than they are for a day I think it probably pisses them off. And I can't blame them. That’s part of their swagger.”
- Dan Gartland