The Blue Jays and Royals don’t seem to be very big fans of each other. Royals starter Edinson Volquez made a habit out of pitching inside to Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, including when he hit him with a pitch in the third inning. That led to retaliation later in the game, and an eventual benches-clearing incident.
Royals reliever Ryan Madson pitched inside to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Donaldson in the seventh inning, which escalated matters before Blue Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez hit shortstop Alcides Escobar in the bottom half of the frame.
After the game, Royals manager Ned Yost stated that his pitchers weren’t throwing at batters intentionally, and went out of his way to praise home plate umpire Jim Wolf. Via John Lott of the National Post:
Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista responded to Yost’s comments on Twitter, saying he “[l]ost a lot of respect for that man today.”
Jays starter R.A. Dickey, who pitched seven scoreless innings and earned a win on Sunday, likened the Royals to kids on a playground when a bigger kid shows up.
People are really angry this Sunday, it seems. The Reds and Pirates had a benches-clearing incident in Cincinnati, and so did the Blue Jays and Royals.
Royals starter Edinson Volquez hit Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson with a first-pitch fastball in the first inning. Donaldson didn’t like it, and glared at Volquez, but took his spot at first base. Volquez brushed Donaldson back with a first-pitch up-and-in fastball in the third inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, with a runner on second base and one out, Royals reliever Ryan Madson hit Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on the elbow with a 2-2 fastball, the seventh-pitch of the at-bat. Madson, on a 2-2 count against Donaldson, threw another fastball up-and-in, nearly hitting Donaldson in the head. Donaldson clearly wasn’t happy, nor was manager John Gibbons, who was ejected by home plate umpire Jim Wolf.
In the top of the eighth, Blue Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez threw a 2-0 fastball at the knees of Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar. Wolf ejected Sanchez from the game. Blue Jays bench coach Demarlo Hale was also ejected. Then the benches cleared. Yodvano Ventura, who didn’t start, was clearly agitated, but his teammates held him back. In the end, it was a typical benches-clearing incident: just a lot of yelling. No one else was ejected. The Royals went on to lose 5-2.
Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals are “pushing hard” for Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto. He adds, however, that their needs for an outfielder — particularly following the unfortunate injury to Alex Gordon — may trump their need for a starter.
Cueto, 29, has put together another terrific season, owning a 2.73 ERA with a 113/22 K/BB ratio over 118 2/3 innings. The 40-47, fourth-place Reds are shopping Cueto as he is eligible for free agency after the season.
Meanwhile, the 53-35, first-place Royals are looking to bolster a rotation currently led by Edinson Volquez and is otherwise not reliable for late season drama or in a short post-season series. Jeremy Guthrie, Yordano Ventura, and Danny Duffy have ERA’s of 4.65 or worse.