BOSTON — The Rays-Red Sox series has now been upgraded to a war, so says Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz who was plenty mad he was drilled in his first at-bat Friday night by Rays pitcher David Price.
“It is a war. It’s on,” Ortiz said. “Next time I see him he better put his gloves on. I have no respect for him anymore.”
On most nights hitting a batter hardly rates as headline material, but this is Boston-Tampa Bay and the teams really don’t like each other.
But then in the fourth inning Price hit Red Sox first baseman Mike Carp for the second time in two games.
And Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman threw behind the head of Evan Longoria.
And four members of the Red Sox were ejected to zero members of the Rays.
And the Red Sox won 3-2 in 10 innings when Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers collided while trying to catch a ball hit into the right-center field gap by A.J. Pierzynski that allowed Jonny Gomes to score all the way from first base.
It was the fourth straight loss for the Rays, the second in walk-off fashion. The Rays now have the worst record in the American League.
The Red Sox have won five straight after leaving Tropicana Field on Sunday after their 10th straight loss.
It was a crazy night at Fenway Park.
And some of it was played in the rain.
Oh, and children’s music played over the stadium speakers as the Rays took fielding practice before heading indoors to take pregame BP because of the rain.
The play list began with “The Heat is On.”
It certainly is.
“I’m right there with Papi in saying it’s game on when we go out there,” Longoria said. “We’re all fierce competitors trying to win the game. Really at the end of the day it doesn’t come down to who’s more macho, who has more guts when it comes to going out and clearing the benches. We’re both right now fighting to get out of the cellar and climb back up to the top of the division, and that should be at the forefront of both of our minds.”
But sometimes that gets lost in all the history, the most recent of which was last Sunday’s benches clearing dustup at Tropicana Field that began when Yunel Escobar took third base in the seventh inning and the Rays up by five runs. The Red Sox didn’t like that.
“Well that’s an easy assumption to make that what happened last week caused (tonight), because I don’t agree with that,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “And it’s always going to be from the perspective, of course, I’m going to defend the Rays, and the Red Sox are going to defend the Red Sox. Whether it’s me or the other manager, or social media, whatever, but that moment was not precipitated by what happened last week.”
Dial the clock back a bit to last October and it was Price who was upset that Ortiz watched as his second home run off Price during Game 2 of the American League Division Series sailed into the right field stands. Price called Ortiz out during his post-game presser and again in twitter.
That was the first meeting of the season between Price and Ortiz, since Ortiz was not in the lineup when Price faced the Red Sox last week at the Trop.
When asked if Price hit Ortiz in the first inning as payback, Maddon said, “What happened had nothing to do with last week.”
Ortiz’s had this to say about last October:
“We go to talk on the phone after, we kind of straightened things out. He was upset and then I let him know how I felt. Later on he called me and apologized because he knew he was wrong. Everything was cool, so the first at-bat of the season against him, he drills me.”
“I was surprised. You can’t be acting like a little girl out there. You aren’t going to win all of the time. When you give it up, that is an experience for the next time. If you are going to be acting like a little (female dog) every time you give it up and put your teammates in jeopardy. That is going to cost you.”
“I respect everyone in this league and expect the same from everyone. If you are mad because I take you deep twice, I’ll let you know, I have almost 500 home runs in this league. That is part of the game.”
When asked if he wasn’t dishing out payback for Sunday, Price said, “No.”
When asked if it had something to do with Game 2 of the ALDS, Price said, “Nope.”
When asked why he hit Ortiz, Price said, “I got to establish my fastball in. I had six lefties in that lineup. It’s my favorite side of the plate to go to, so I got to establish it in.”
Maddon came to the defense of his pitcher.
“You have to pitch Ortiz inside,” Maddon said. “And of course that was a little too far inside.”
Home plate umpire Dan Bellino warned both benches after Price hit Ortiz. He then ejected Red Sox manager John Farrell for arguing that decision.
Despite the warning, Price was not ejected after hitting Carp. Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, who took over for Farrell, was ejected for questioning that decision.
“If we feel there was intent to hit the batter he would have been ejected,” crew chief Jeff Kellogg told a pool reporter. “We felt the pitch was certainly inside, but not intentional, so that’s why he stayed in the game.”
Price said he understands why Carp would be upset, since Price has hit him three times over the years.
“I 100 percent understand his frustration. I absolutely do,” Price said. “It’s not the pitch I’m trying to throw. If I was trying to hit him, it’s nowhere near the region it’s going to be. I didn’t mean to do that.”
Workman and third base coach Brian Butterfield, the Red Sox acting manager after Lovullo was ejected, were tossed when Workman threw behind Longoria in the fifth inning.
Longoria said he wished Workman hit him with the pitch, albeit a little lower.
“So it would have been done and over with right there,” Longoria said. “I know he tried, and I told A.J. I’m fine with that. I just don’t want to get hit in the head. That’s what I was telling him, make sure it’s down below the neck. He understood that. Hopefully we’re beyond that, and we can get back to worrying about the game on the field and nothing else.”
Price said, given the history between the two teams, he was surprised warnings were not issued by the umpires before the game.
“We actually get reports from the (league) office if there’s an incident between the two clubs, especially when this recent and they’re playing again the following weekend,” Kellogg said. “We all received a report in the incident that happened last weekend, and they just sent a report and said, ‘Heads up. This is what took place. Be ready for something.’ ”
Maddon, naturally, was pleased with the way the umpires handled the situation. Also, he said he could understand the Red Sox frustration.
“If you’re part of the Red Sox nation, you’re appalled by our behavior tonight,” Maddon said. “And if you’re part of the Rays nation you’re like ‘What’s the big deal?’ ”
What’s the big deal?
It’s Rays-Red Sox.
It’s the Pedro Game and James Shields drilling Coco Crisp and the Rays beating the Red Sox in the 2008 American League Championship Series and the Rays chasing down the Red Sox to win the 2011 AL Wild Card and the Red Sox forcing the Rays into a doubleheader in April and on and on.
When asked if he thinks the hostilities between the two clubs would continue, Price said, “I’m sure it will.”
Escobar left the game in the top of the 10th inning with a tight left quad … Jennings and Myers both said they were OK after colliding with each other. Neither thought they could have caught the ball if the other hadn’t been in the way.