BOSTON — Emotions ran high Saturday at Fenway Park. No beanballs ensued, no punches were thrown, and no combatants were ejected. A little bit of love might have been lost.
The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles emptied the benches in the seventh inning after David Ross and Bud Norris exchanged words following a couple of high-and-tight pitches. Ross chalked up the incident as “baseball stuff” — saying he didn’t think Norris intentionally threw at him — but the Orioles made it clear after the Red Sox’s 4-2 win that they don’t intend to be pushed around by the defending World Series champions.
“Day game after night game. The emotions are running high. It’s the Red Sox. It’s a rival. It’s a part of the game,” Orioles first baseman Chris David told reporters. “We don’t back down. That’s our thing. We have each other’s backs. If somebody wants to run their mouths, we’ll stand up to them.”
Ross grew upset in the seventh inning after two pitches whizzed by his head as the Red Sox catcher attempted to drop down a sacrifice bunt with the score tied 2-2. Ross appeared to say something to Norris, who reacted, prompting Orioles catcher Matt Wieters to intervene and the benches to empty.
“I think he said ‘Bud man’ or ‘Bud,’ and then he said, ‘Make an adjustment.’ And I said, ‘Excuse me?’ And that’s all I said,” Norris explained after the game. “And that’s right when Wieters stepped in. I kind of smiled and brushed it off. I knew that I was out there to pitch and pitch from there.”
The Orioles’ real displeasure with the whole situation seemed to stem from warnings being issued to both sides, especially since Felix Doubront hit Davis in the sixth inning and nothing came of it. Wieters’ willingness to stand up for a teammate certainly wasn’t lost among the madness, though.
“I guess (Ross) thought somebody was throwing at him after two breaking balls and a fastball away. I don’t know. It’s emotional,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Ross is a good player, a good catcher, and a pro. But I know Matt (Wieters). He’s not going to allow somebody to yell at his pitcher like that, especially when he doesn’t have any reason to.
“There was a warning issued to us because of David’s reaction. Maybe we should have reacted when Chris got hit with a 2-0 fastball from Doubront in a one-run game. But we don’t react. We got a warning because of Ross’ reaction. Go figure.”
Ross ended up striking out for the first out of the bottom of the seventh, but Brock Holt gave the Red Sox the lead moments later by lining an RBI triple into the right-center field gap. Boston never looked back.
It was an exhilarating sequence in what could become a very exciting season series between the Red Sox and Orioles.