Five Royals ejected in Sunday’s series finale against the Athletics

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The drama between the Athletics and Royals continued on Sunday. It all began when A’s third baseman Brett Lawrie slid hard into second base on Friday, causing Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar to suffer a mild left knee strain. There was some miscommunication over whether or not Lawrie apologized via text message to Escobar. Ultimately, it didn’t matter as Royals starter Yordano Ventura hit Lawrie with a 99 MPH fastball on Saturday night, resulting in an ejection, after the A’s put up a five-spot.

The two teams took the field Sunday afternoon for the series finale but they weren’t done. Athletics starter Scott Kazmir hit Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain in the leg with a pitch, but neither side was issued a warning. Royals manager Ned Yost and pitching coach Dave Eiland were both ejected by home plate umpire Greg Gibson.

In the top of the eighth inning, Royals reliever Kelvim Herrera quickly got the first two outs of the inning to bring up Lawrie. Herrera threw a 100 MPH fastball behind Lawrie, resulting in an immediate ejection. Herrera pointed to his head Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu and Escobar, who did not start, were also ejected.

In the bottom half of the eighth, the Royals energized Kaufmann stadium when Cain hit a game-tying RBI double. Cain then stole third base ahead of an Eric Hosmer walk to bring up Kendrys Morales. Morales clubbed a ball to center field that he thought was a home run, but it bounced off the top of the wall, scoring both runners to put the Royals up 4-2. Wade Davis set the A’s down in order in the top of the ninth inning for the save.

Herrera, after the game:

The two sides don’t match up again until June 26-28 in Oakland, so there will be plenty of time for cooler heads to finally prevail.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.