The Baltimore Orioles were livid during and after their 4-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park last night, but this time their anger wasn't directed at their opponents, but at the home plate umpire who ejected their starting pitcher from the game.
Crew chief Sam Holbrook tossed Baltimore's Kevin Gausman in the second inning when he plunked Xander Bogaerts on the back of the leg with a curve ball, and the Orioles went immediately and understandably apoplectic. Catcher Caleb Joseph spiked his mask on home plate after his pitcher got the heave ho and manager Buck Showalter bolted from the dugout to express his displeasure with words, as Paul Simon would say, I never heard in the bible. The Orioles' argument is that if Gausman, who throws a fastball in the high 90s, had really wanted to hurt or send a message to Bogaerts, he would have thrown one of those heaters at the Red Sox shortstop, and wouldn't bother with a yakker that was clocked at just 77 miles an hour.
But there's baggage here, stemming all the way back to the series at Camden Yards where this feud all began when Manny Machado injured Dustn Pedroia with a spikes up slide into second. And before last night's game Major League Baseball had a conference call with the Red Sox and Orioles head honchos telling both clubs that the tit for tat throwing at batters on both sides that's occurred since then has got to stop. Holbrook referenced that call in backing up his decision to toss Gausman. In any event, Josh Rutledge drove in two runs with a single for Boston in a three-run fourth inning, Rutledge himself a late insert into the game after third baseman Marco Hernandez left with a shoulder injury. Drew Pomeranz picked up the win, getting out of a bases loaded jam in the first with no damage, and giving up two runs on five hits over 5 and a third innings. The Red Sox bullpen blanked the O's the rest of the way and Craig Kimbrel notched his 10th save. Kyle Kendrick makes his first start for Boston tonight due to the injury to Steven Wright. No matter who wins tonight, the Orioles won't let the door hit them on their backsides on the way out of Boston. These two clubs right now do not like each other one little bit.
With the Orioles loss, the NY Yankees now have first place in the division all to themselves after an 8-6 comeback win against the hapless Toronto Blue Jays at the Stadium. To be fair to the Jays, though, no one really knows how to pump the brakes on the Yankees' mammoth rookie sensation Aaron Judge, who homered again last night to help bring the Yankees back from a 4-0 deficit. Judge now leads the majors with 13 homers on the year. Didi Gregorious had the go-ahead hit in the 7th as a pinch hitter, getting a bit lucky when his comebacker to the mound, which could have been an inning ending double play, clanked off the glove of reliever Joe Biagini. The Yankees are now 11-0 in games in which Judge hits a round tripper.
The NY Mets are still contemplating how they'll move forward with their best pitcher out indefinitely with a partial muscle tear, but when you pound out 20 hits, what happens on the mound doesn't matter much. That was the case last night as the Mets clubbed the Atlanta Braves around in a 16-5 laugher in Atlanta. Jose Reyes matched a career high with five runs batted in.
In the NHL playoffs the Pittsburgh Penguins don't know when or if their superstar Sidney Crosby will return after suffering a concussion in game three from a cross-check to the face by the Washington Capitals' Matt Niskanen. But they do know that the best way to retaliate is to knock the reigning president's trophy winners out of the tournament, and after a 3-2 win in Pittsburgh last night, they're just one victory away from accomplishing that goal. Veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been terrific for Pittsburgh, stopping 36 shots last night. Justin Schultz had the game winner for the Penguins midway through the second, and you've got to be lucky as well as good and the Pens were when one of their goals was scored on a centering pass that glanced in off the skate of Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov. One more loss and the Caps will once again be facing a long Stanley Cup-less off-season wondering what could have been if they falter in the playoffs following a successful regular season.
Out west the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers are tied at two games apiece after a 4-3 overtime for the Ducks last night, the lamp lighter in OT scored by Jakob Silfverberg.
NBA playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers are up two games to none over the Toronto Raptors after a 125-103 blowout last night, and while the San Antonio Spurs did tie up their series against the Houston Rockets at a game apiece with a 121-96 win, they did get some bad news losing guard Tony Parker to a leg injury, and it appears serious, as he had to be carried off the court.
It's the quarterfinals of playoff action in college women’s lacrosse, and the Norwich Cadets were eliminated yesterday in a 17-6 loss to St. Joseph's.
In the men's playoffs of the NAC semi-finals, Castleton knocked out Lyndon 17-5. Jason Sedell had 6 goals to lead the Spartans, who move on to the championship game to face a familiar foe in New England College. The two squads have met for the title game now in six consecutive years.