For the second time in three games, the benches cleared between the Orioles and the Oakland Athletics at Camden Yards. Once again, Manny Machado was in the middle of the drama.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning of a blowout Sunday afternoon, Athletics left-hander Fernando Abad’s first two pitches to Machado sailed low and inside, near the Orioles third baseman’s knees. On the second pitch, Machado took a late swing, and the bat flew out of his hands and soared past third base.
That, Machado insisted after the game, was an accident, explaining that the bat “slipped right out.” But crew chief Larry Vanover disagreed and ejected both players.
“It was obvious the pitcher threw at him the second time,” Vanover said. “And then [Machado] threw the bat. That wasn’t accidental. He threw the bat, so two ejections.”
The skirmish seemed to be a byproduct of Friday’s drama between Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson and Machado, who took exception to what he considered a hard tag in the base path. Later that game, Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen hit Donaldson.
After the Athletics’ apparent retribution Sunday, Machado exchanged words with Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt as the benches emptied.
“Obviously, it's going to get heated,” Machado said. “But you can't do nothing about it. The only thing you can control is [to] come back out there and play baseball.”
Designated hitter John Jaso, one of the first Athletics to join the scrum, criticized the way Machado responded to both incidents, also mentioning that the third baseman didn’t apologize properly after injuring catcher Derek Norris with a backswing in the sixth inning.
“You start to think about who does this guy think he is, and that causes, I don’t know, some drama to start, I guess,” Jaso said. “The game should be played the right way. And when it’s not played the right way, people should be told, you know, in a certain way.
"If we tell him one way, then it’s up to their club, their veteran guys, to tell him another way, because it needs to be done.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who said he prefers to let players handle their disagreements independently instead of getting involved himself, expects Major League Baseball to review Sunday’s incident.
But despite the two altercations involving his third baseman this weekend, Showalter doesn’t think Machado was out of line.
“I thought Manny handled it better than someone with some experience [would],” he said. “It was also a good experience for him to have. He cares. It’s a learning experience for all of us.”
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