A battle between wild-card hopefuls got heated as the benches cleared in Tuesday's matchup between the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles.
The tension seemed to start when Orioles reliever — and former Blue Jay — Bryan Baker induced a run-scoring double play from Toronto's Teoscar Hernandez in the top of the seventh inning. As Hernandez — who homered off Baker on Monday — jogged back to the dugout, the two players appeared to exchange words.
Once Baker finished off the inning, he made a hand gesture to the Toronto dugout, prompting the visitors to rush the field. Hernandez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. seemed especially fired up in the ensuing fracas.
The Blue Jays and Orioles benches clear after Bryan Baker struck out Matt Chapman to end the top of the seventh. pic.twitter.com/ta30veGijc
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 7, 2022
Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider addressed the incident after the game, blaming Baker for the dust-up.
"I don't think it was a [Hernandez] thing," Schneider told reporters, per Sportsnet's Arden Zwelling. "I think it was Baker looking into our dugout like he has every time he's pitched against us since he wasn't part of our team. And I think our team reacted.
"I didn't understand why Baker was looking into our dugout after giving up a run on back-to-back days. We were just surprised and unsure of why Bryan was looking in our dugout. Again, it wasn't the first time he's done that. So, I think guys were fed up with it.”
Guerrero Jr. also spoke about the incident and believes Baker crossed a line between celebrating a big moment and trying to pick a fight. Here are his full comments:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on the interaction between Bryan Baker and Teoscar Hernandez that led to tonight’s fracas with the Blue Jays and Orioles: pic.twitter.com/zC7jGLz4M6
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) September 7, 2022
The umpires issued warnings to each team to begin the bottom of the seventh in an effort to control the tense situation. But the drama didn't stop there as Schneider was ejected later in the frame and ripped into home plate umpire Jeff Nelson on his way out. It was the second time Schneider has been tossed from a game since taking over for the fired Charlie Montoyo in July.
Aside from being American League East rivals, Toronto and Baltimore are locked in a race for the final wild-card spot in the AL. The upstart Orioles defeated the Blue Jays 9-6 on Tuesday to climb within 3.5 games in the standings. The two teams still have seven games remaining against one another before the end of the regular season.
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