Blue Jays, Royals series ends on sour note
Head-hunting, chirping, clearing of benches highlight finale
The Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals don't seem to like each other very much.
Or maybe the Royals just woke up on Sunday and decided they don't like the Jays.
The reason is anyone's guess, but it made for an especially hostile game between the defending AL champions and a Blue Jays team that is going all-in for a playoff run.
Royals starter Edinson Volquez set the tone early when he plunked Josh Donaldson and then tossed some chin music at the Jays' all-star third baseman the next time through the order.
Donaldson said Royals hit him on purpose in 1st: "I've been thrown at several times in my career, I know when it’s intentional." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash">#BlueJays</a>—@ArdenZwelling
Although Volquez was warned after the first incident, home-plate umpire Jim Wolf looked the other way when Volquez went at Donaldson again, leaving the frustrated third baseman looking for answers.
Volquez on Donaldson: "He was pimping everything. Somebody hits you, you've got to take it — because you're pimping everything you do."—@ArdenZwelling
Volquez On Donaldson: "He got mad at everybody like he was Barry Bonds. He's not Barry Bonds. He's got three years in the league." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash">#BlueJays</a>—@ArdenZwelling
But the Royals weren't done with their poor sportsmanship — or attempt at intimidation, depending on how you look at it.
Kansas City reliever Ryan Madson hit newly acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, and again Wolf did not take action.
The next batter at the plate was none other than Donaldson, who with the help of Madson completed the rare hat trick of being apparently thrown at three times in one game.
Jays manager John Gibbons came out to defend his player and was tossed by Wolf after an exchange of words.
However, it didn't stop there.
To the bewilderment of many Jays fans, reliever Aaron Sanchez was ejected after hitting Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar — on his lower leg.
Sanchez: "If I wanted to send a message, I would've sent a message to their big guys. I think it was kinda crap but we'll move on" <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash">#BlueJays</a>—@ArdenZwelling
At this point, no one was angrier than an exasperated Donaldson. The obligatory clearing of the benches ensued, which even Gibbons, who had already been sent off, couldn't resist.
Donaldson: "What's most important is we won 3 of 4 — against what some people call the best team in the American League." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash">#BlueJays</a>—@ArdenZwelling
Royals manager Ned Yost defended his team's approach and was also complimentary of the officiating crew, specifically the decision to eject Sanchez.
Jose Bautista? Not impressed.
Just heard <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NedYost?src=hash">#NedYost</a> comments about the game. Lost a lot of respect for that man today.—@JoeyBats19
But R.A. Dickey knows that winning is fun.
Dickey: "Those were 4 really good baseball games we played. That was so fun. We all had a great time competing the last 4 days." <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash">#BlueJays</a>—@ArdenZwelling
The bottom line though is that the Jays won 5-2, took three of four games in the set, and showed they are a team that won't be pushed around.