Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista and Orioles reliever Darren O'Day have a history, and they added another page to it in the deciding game of the Orioles' first home series of the new season.
O'Day left a full-count pitch over the middle of the plate and Bautista did what he usually does with mistake pitches, lining it into the left field seats to turn a one-run game into a 10-7 victory.
There was a little more to it than that. Bautista appeared to be chirping at O'Day as he circled the bases, either because of an earlier pitch that sailed over his head or because they've danced this dance a few times before.
O'Day and Bautista exchanged words on the field in 2013 after Bautista hit a home run, and O'Day plunked Bautista last year in what appeared to be retaliation for a purpose pitch that struck Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph.
"This is the only guy that this happens with in the whole league,'' Bautista said. "I don't have any history with anybody [else]. The reason I have a history with this guy is on one particular thing. I don't know what day of the week it was, he struck me out and he started yapping at me. After that it's been a back and forth of emotional situations.
"There was a similar one in Toronto. I hit a home run, then he hit me here, then today he threw behind me, I hit another home run. So that's the way it goes. I'm going to face him again, so I'm looking forward to the challenges."
O'Day didn't acknowledge any animosity toward Bautista after the game, choosing to focus on the pitch he threw and the unhappy result it produced.
"I didn't hear him,'' O'Day said. "I was just focusing on myself. I threw a terrible pitch. If you make mistakes like that, a guy like that is going to hit 'em. It was a terrible pitch. I didn't notice what he was doing."
Bautista has the statistical upper hand in this personal rivalry at the moment. The home run was his fourth in 15 at-bats against O'Day, which is one of the reasons O'Day was kicking himself after throwing that full-count pitch.
"The smart play there, once I fell behind, was to try and pitch around him and get [Edwin] Encarnacion, who I have a better history against,'' O'Day said, "and that's what I was trying to do. If I throw that pitch in the other batters box, maybe he swings through it and walks off the field, but I left it over the plate and he put a good swing on it."
Bautista also celebrated with Encarnacion as he crossed home plate, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that wasn't unusual.
"He does that all the time,'' Showalter said. "That's part of his shtick. It's not just Darren. It's what they do nowadays."