Emotions run high after Kirk is hit by pitch as Blue Jays falls for Red Sox

TORONTO – Alejandro Kirk is arguably the best hitter in all of baseball, so it makes sense that opposing pitchers would try to get into his kitchen. The Boston Red Sox certainly did well this week from the jump at Rogers Center, with Connor Seabold hitting him on the left elbow in the third inning of Monday’s series opener before buzzing him again two innings later. Two other fields also missed well inside.

Kirk saw only two pitches in delivering a pinch-hit single on a ninth Tuesday-evening, so there was no opportunity for brinkmanship there. But starter Nick Pivetta was back at it on Wednesday, just missing him with a quick 94.4 mph ball that was his second pitch of the second inning before hitting him right on the left elbow with the first pitch of their collision in the third .

While Kirk, his usual stoic self, turned away from Pivetta when he was checked by trainer Jose Ministral, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. seen enough. He gestured to get away with his hand and grew increasingly angry when Victoria’s right-hander interfered, using foul language to say he wasn’t trying to hit Kirk and that Guerrero should stop the discussion immediately.

That sent Guerrero onto the field, prompting the Toronto Blue Jays, led by George Springer, to lead the star’s first baseman back to the dugout, while the Red Sox dragged Pivetta back behind the mound. The engagement peaked with angry words, but the point was made: Kirk didn’t get a call back for the rest of the night.

Warnings to both clubs ensured there was no retaliation from Alek Manoah and the rest of the Blue Jays, who rallied late to force extra innings but were undone by their thin bullpen during a messy 10th in a fall of 6 -5.

That kept them from completing a three-game sweep of the Red Sox in an intense and emotional final.

“He’s probably one of the best hitters in the league right now, so as a pitcher I totally understand you could try to go in or whatever, but when you’re throwing balls to the head it’s a no- go.” said Manoach. “He’s been hit there a few times recently and in the heat of the moment the team doesn’t want their own man to get hit. Not to say (Pivetta) did it on purpose or something, but it’s just a really sensitive area up there. So as a team we have Kirky’s back all day and we’re just playing extremely competitive baseball right now.”

Very bad, which undoubtedly contributed to the showdown in the third inning.

For his part, Kirk felt that all the near misses were a byproduct of the Red Sox “trying to pitch me differently” and he didn’t believe that Pivetta “hit him on purpose or it came out of the dugout”.

“In the heat of the moment, it’s normal for things to happen,” added Kirk through interpreter Hector Lebron. “But personally I don’t think it was on purpose. Of course that makes you a bit emotional and I can understand that. But I just want to leave it at that.”

The Blue Jays had other reasons to get emotional later on: they trailed Raimel Tapia’s RBI double in eighth way 3-2, while watching Jordan Romano squeeze out of a first and third, one-out jam unscathed in the ninth. while he suffered again. bullpen blip into the top of the 10th before nearly pulling it out of the bottom half.

David Phelps, their third reliever of the evening, walked his first two batters to load the bases before hitting JD Martinez and forcing the go-ahead run. Tim Mayza took over and after triggering a 3-2-3 double play that nearly contained damage, he handed over a double-run double to Alex Verdugo to open things up.

Still, the Blue Jays almost came back, as a two-out RBI single by Santiago Espinal and a runscoring double by Cavan Biggio made it a one-run game and Matt Strahm, in his second inning on the job, had to sideline Springer to get. pop out with men in second and third place.

“We took two out of three, one goal away from taking three in a row from a team that was hot,” said manager Charlie Montoyo.

At the same time, the Blue Jays’ lack of leverage, compounded by the absence of Yimi Garcia, was also exposed on consecutive days as they lost a late 4-2 lead on Tuesday, but it was masked by Guerrero’s walk-off single. in the ninth.

There are no quick fixes and veteran Sergio Romo, looking to gently incorporate the Blue Jays into their mix, will not be a panacea. The 39-year-old was activated after passing his physical and GM Ross Atkins noted that his addition “isn’t something that stops us from continuing to look to improve this team.”

Adding more emergency aid is an obvious way to do that, but Atkins added that “any competing team will probably try to do that, just like us.” Trading with the August 2 trading deadline more than a month away is difficult because “teams don’t want to pay big bounties for players to move to move.”

Last year, the Blue Jays were able to leapfrog the market with the acquisitions of Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards, who is currently on the injured list, but Atkins said: “You can’t just decide you’re going to cost something at all. Those urgency or importance, I can’t imagine it being greater, but we always have to be measured by how we think about it.”

Manoah again exceeded his share in seven mostly overwhelming innings, his biggest blot a two-run homer by Verdugo on a middle-middle heater after a Xander Bogaerts infield single that gave the Red Sox the lead

The only other run against him came on a sac-fly by Rob Refsnyder in the third to cash out Franchy Cordero, who had previously advanced to third base when Kirk threw out an attempt to catch him stealing.

Manoah cleverly worked out a two-on, no-out jam in the fifth and by going deep again, he helped keep the bullpen for Yusei Kikuchi’s start in Thursday’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Meanwhile, Pivetta largely kept the Blue Jays in check by holding back a Santiago Espinal RBI single that opened the score in the second and a Springer solo in the fifth that gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead.

Tapia’s RBI double in the eighth tied things 3-3 and set the stage for a dramatic, and disappointing from the Blue Jays perspective, in a game that ran smoothly.

Montoyo dodged the question when asked what he thinks the Red Sox’s intention was with Kirk: “I won’t be able to read their minds, I’m not that smart. I just know what I know and I’m keeping it to myself,” he said. But the way he chased home plate umpire DJ Reyburn as he checked his catcher on the field indicated that he loved it as much as several of his players.

Kirk was grateful that the entire scene “went no further than” words, but added that “it feels good to know that your teammates are right behind you.”

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