Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Bad blood boils over in Rangers-Jays brawl; Matt Bush gets win

ARLINGTON, Texas — Rougned Odor's right jab to Jose Bautista's jaw will be remembered for a long time.

Perhaps it's a good thing the Rangers and Blue Jays have played for the final time this regular season. As for the playoffs, well, that would be interesting.

A feud simmering since Bautista's bat flip in last year's ALDS boiled over into a brawl that ultimately triggered six of the eight ejections in the Rangers' 7-6 win Sunday.

"As far as what happened inside the scrum out on the field, there was a lot of things going on," Texas manager Jeff Banister said.

Last year in Toronto, Bautista capped a wild seventh inning with a three-run homer and the dramatic bat flip that angered Texas in Game 5, which the Blue Jays won 6-3 to clinch the series.

This time, Bautista was upset after 30-year-old Texas rookie Matt Bush hit him with a pitch.

Moments later, Bautista slid hard into Odor at second on a potential double play that erupted into a fight. Players from both teams rushed the field as Odor punched Bautista in the jaw, staggering the Toronto slugger and knocking off his batting helmet and sunglasses. "I was pretty surprised," Bautista said. "I mean, obviously, that's the only reason that he got me, and he got me pretty good, so I have to give him that. It takes a little bit bigger man to knock me down."

Odor wasn't available to reporters after the game.

After the field was cleared, Blue Jays reliever Jesse Chavez hit Prince Fielder with the next pitch and was ejected.

Jays manager John Gibbons suggested the Rangers were retaliating for Bautista's bat flip and indicated he thought the Rangers purposely waited until the last meeting of the season between the teams. "It was ugly and unfortunate," Gibbons said. "To me, it was gutless. The other 29 teams, they come at you right away, but to wait until the end, it just sort of tells you something. Everybody is going to say, 'Oh, it was a one-run game. The ball got away.' That ain't going to fly."

Bush, a former No. 1 overall pick by the Padres, got his first big-league win after making his MLB debut Friday. He was a Rays farmhand in 2012 when a drunk driving accident badly injured a man in Port Charlotte. Bush served 3½ months in prison.

Comments
Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

Rays journal: 7 pitches, 3 straight homers prove too much in loss to Astros

HOUSTON — The Rays were engaged in a third straight tight, go-either-way battle with the defending champ Astros on Wednesday.Until they were not.A brutal seven-pitch sequence by starter Nathan Eovaldi changed everything, as he gave up three con...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

Rays see the results of keeping a good, young core group together

HOUSTON — The Rays saw a lot on the weeklong trip that ended with Wednesday's game against that Astros, beyond the street hustlers prowling in Times Square and the urban cowboys and girls parading through H-town.There was an impressive debuting...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Astros game

RHP Nathan Eovaldi said before his rough start Wednesday against the Astros that he was pitching better than his numbers showed. Well … In four starts since his six no-hit innings debut, he's 0-3 with a 6.17 ERA, allowing eight homers, four Wed...
Updated: 9 hours ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

UPDATE, 6:43: Cash said the key to how the pieced the lineup together was the opportunity to give Cron (who is struggling) and Duffy (who is doing well) back to back days off. … Looking ahead to the weekend, the Rays will use RHP Ryne Stanek as...
Published: 06/20/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Kevin Kiermaier returns to the Rays

Times sports columnist Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to discuss Kevin Kiermaier's return to the Rays, whether Victor Hedman should win the Norris Trophy for the NHL's best defenseman, Bucs expectations for this season and Barry Trotz's next c...
Published: 06/20/18
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Published: 06/20/18
Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier returns, with energy to spare

HOUSTON — Energy.That's what Kevin Kiermaier said he felt he'd provide most in rejoining the Rays Tuesday against the Astros after missing two-plus months recovering from thumb surgery."I like to think I bring energy on both sides of the ball, ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

Rays journal: Blake Snell outlasts Justin Verlander in 2-1 win

HOUSTON — The starting pitcher walked seven over seven otherwise solid innings Tuesday. That seemed weird enough for the Rays. Then the next pitcher they brought in was the one who started Monday's game. Even more bizarre.And then there was thi...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays-Astros

This is how odd LHP Blake Snell's night was — he became the first pitcher to work seven or more innings and walk at least seven since Edwin Jackson threw his 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter at the Rays on June 25, 2010.If you weren't aware of t...
Published: 06/19/18
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Published: 06/19/18