Both teams benches emptied almost immediately. Borucki and Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker were ejected from the game, which the Rays went on to win 7-1 and clinch the first American League playoff spot of the season.
“Oh yeah, it was intentional,” Kiermaier said after the game. “Pretty much almost went behind me. I thought it was a weak move, to be quite honest. It’s over. It’s didn’t hurt by any means, so I don’t care. Whatever. We move on. We got a series win, and I hope we play those guys, I really do.”
The dustup most likely stemmed from an incident in Monday night’s game between the two teams when Kiermaier was safe on a close play at the plate. As he and Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk made contact, the scouting report card that Kirk had attached to his wristband fell to the ground. Kiermaier picked it up and carried it back to the Rays dugout.
The Jays asked to have the card returned, but the Rays refused. However, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash apologized to the Blue Jays organization on Tuesday and Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said the matter was “agua under the bridge.”
Then again, maybe not.
At the time, the Rays held a 7-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning as the defending American League champions became the fourth MLB team to clinch a playoff berth this season.
The San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers have already secured playoff spots in the National League, while the Chicago White Sox will have to wait another day to wrap up the AL Central title. Their game in Detroit and second-place Cleveland’s game against Kansas City were both rained out.
Contributing: The Associated Press.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier hit by pitch in wake of scouting card incident