TAMPA -- When Yonny Chirinos plunked Yankees first baseman Luke Voit in the sixth inning Saturday night after allowing a home run to the previous batter, the Yankees dugout erupted, with veteran left-hander CC Sabathia leading the yelling.
On Sunday, before the Rays and Yankees played their final game of the three-game series at Tropicana Field, manager Kevin Cash as was expected, that there was no intent to hit Voit, or Gary Sanchez later that inning.
"Look, players don't like to get hit by pitches, and I respect that," Cash said. "We don't like that to happen to our guys. It doesn't feel good. In that specific case, obviously Yonny's not trying to hit him. It's a 2-2 ballgame. We're not wanting baserunners on there."
In Saturday’s 7-2 Rays win, D.J. LeMahieu opened the sixth inning with a solo homer off Chirinos to tie the game at 2. Two pitches later, after Voit fouled off a first-pitch sinker, Chirinos hit Voit up and in with a 95-mph sinker. Sanchez was hit two batters later, but on an 87-mph splitter on his arm.
Sabathia, the Yankees starter on Saturday, was the most vocal in the Yankees dugout. Sabathia served a five-game suspension to start this season for throwing at former Rays catcher Jesus Sucre last season.
After the game, Voit didn't try to claim intent, but didn't like getting hit right after Chirinos allowing a home run.
Call it bad blood, tempers flaring, the heat of the game. But most of these situations are more about posturing than anything. And any contention is likely rooted in players looking for anything to built unity and galvanize a team. And with so many Yankees stars out -- sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton among them -- one would expect Sabathia to lead the charge.
"I think it's just teammates kind of sticking up for them, hopefully our guys would do the same thing," Cash said.
Regardless, even if nothing escalates Sunday, it’s something worth keeping an eye on given the Rays make their first trip to Yankee Stadium this weekend.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow @EddieInTheYard.