Manny Machado wasn’t happy with the way Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson tagged him to end the third inning in the Orioles’ 4-3 loss Friday night.
Why, exactly? He wouldn't specify.
“He made the right play, but [I] just didn't agree on the tag that he made on me, and I just had to get up and confront him,” Machado said after the game. “You get in the heat of the moment and things start flying. It's part of the game, and you're going to have to continue.”
With two outs and Machado running on contact from second base, Donaldson fielded a soft ground ball near third and waited in his base path. Machado tried to deke around Donaldson, who applied a high tag. Machado slammed his helmet to the ground as he stumbled backward, then jawed at Donaldson as the two converged. Benches and bullpens cleared as the players were separated.“I don’t know what happened from his end, but I was just trying to do my job and play the game of baseball,” Donaldson said. “I think he just said I tagged him too hard.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter also wasn’t sure what sparked the skirmish, but he understood why Machado might take exception to a tag that knocked him off balance, especially because the 21-year-old spent the offseason rehabilitating from a torn ligament in his left knee.
“They're competing out there and those things happen,” Showalter said. “Manny cares. And until you've walked a mile in a man's shoes, you really don't know what goes on, but it's a pretty easy call for me what side of the fence I'm going to sit on.”
The tension between the third basemen didn’t end there. With two outs and the bases empty in the sixth inning, Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, who at that point had retired 10 straight batters, hit Donaldson with a 95-mph fastball that sailed high and tight.
Donaldson took his base, no warnings were issued, and there was no further retaliation. As far as Machado is concerned, the third-inning incident has been resolved.
“You know what? Whatever. It is what it is,” Machado said. “It's baseball, it's part of the game. Now I'm going to put it in the past and play another game tomorrow.”