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.
Something very strange happened this afternoon, as Royals reliever Wade Davis gave up a solo home run to Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Context is obviously needed here and you’ll get it. Davis hadn’t allowed a home run since nearly two years ago on August 24, 2013. Appropriately enough, that was the last time he started a game. He came into Saturday’s outing having gone 125 2/3 innings over 123 relief appearances without giving up a home run.
Davis actually made a pretty nasty pitch, but Bautista managed to turn around on it for his second home run of the game. Watch below:
Bautista’s blast brought the Blue Jays within one run. They attempted to stage a rally against Royals closer Greg Holland in the bottom of the ninth, but ultimately fell short.
In a surprising move, the Blue Jays announced this morning that they have designated infielder-outfielder Danny Valencia for assignment. Ezequiel Carrera was also designated for assignment while infielder Munenori Kawasaki was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo and right-hander Ryan Tepera was sent down.
Valencia has been very productive in a part-time role this season, batting .296/.331/.506 with seven home runs and 29 RBI over 58 games while mostly playing against left-handed pitching. However, he became the odd-man out after the Blue Jays picked up outfielder Ben Revere from the Phillies before yesterday’s trade deadline.
Valencia has experience in the infield and outfielder and owns an .864 OPS against southpaws in his career, so he should draw plenty of interest around the league.