Sunday, February 25, 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.

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