Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah’s challenges heat up Gerrit Cole after Yankees’ Aaron Judge hits pitch – ‘Next time pass the Audi sign’ – ESPN

Blue Jays' Alek Manoah's challenges heat up Gerrit Cole after Yankees' Aaron Judge hits pitch - 'Next time pass the Audi sign' - ESPN

NEW YORK — As the race for the postseason continues to heat up, so do the tempers in the toughest division in baseball.

The Yankees pulled out a 4-2 victory over the AL East rival Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, but not before tensions boiled over in the fifth inning when a Toronto starter. Alec Manoah hit Yankees All-Star Aaron Judge with a 92 mph fastball.

“I’ve been struggling with my sinker for about five, six starts now,” Manoah explained after the game. “I made a throw and it obviously hit Judge. I looked at him, said, ‘Man, you know, I’m not trying to do that’.”

With a runner on second and first base open, Manoah’s sinker hit Judge on the shoulder, the same spot he barely missed earlier in the game. Visibly upset, Judge spoke a few words to Manoah as he walked to the mound.

“[Judge] looked at me and he’s like, ‘That’s two,'” Manoah said. “In the first inning, I threw one in there by mistake, too. But obviously, in a situation like that, I try to minimize base runners. So I told him, ‘I’m not trying to do that’.”

Yankees starter Gerrit Cole, who took the loss Saturday, came out of the dugout followed by several teammates during the tense exchange when Judge waved them off. The game was briefly stopped but tempers settled, and Judge went to first base. Manoah went to talk to Judge and seemed to help defuse the situation.

Manoah said he explained to a judge that it was a problem with his command, but there was no love lost for Cole’s fuming reaction.

“I think [Judge] understood that. And I think if Gerrit wants to do something, he can go past the Audi sign next time,” Manoah said, referring to the luxury car brand logo splashed on the grass of the visiting team’s dugout at Yankee Stadium.

When asked if it had anything to do with it being Manoah specifically, and if he believed he meant to hit Judge on purpose, Cole remained vague in his post-match comments.

“Not necessarily,” said Cole, who gave up four earned runs over six innings in the Yankees’ 5-2 loss to the Jays on Saturday. “Just a little too many [batters hit by pitch] for my taste. I don’t know what to say.”

Manager Aaron Boone said he did not believe Manoah’s pitch was intentional, but defended Cole’s reaction.

“He doesn’t like our guy getting drilled,” Boone said. “Sometimes we get caught up in this intentional thing, like if it’s not intentional, then fine. Sometimes we have a different take on it. When your guy gets beat up, it usually gets your attention. I think. [Judge] handled it great. I thought Gerrit was just standing up for his guy, for our guy. It’s just two division rivals, playing for a lot, a little moment in the game, not much to it.”

Judge, who also said he believed there was no intent, described the incident as the emotional part of competition.

“It’s the heat of the moment. Nobody likes to be beaten,” Judge said. “Everybody watches the game, everybody likes it. It doesn’t matter who gets hit, everybody’s going to except it. Dugout had a few things to say and then you move on.”

As for revealing his conversation with Manoah, Judge said, “We’ll keep it between each other.”

And with the Yankees having lost 14 of their previous 17 games and looking to snap a three-game losing streak and avoid a sweep, Judge said his focus was clear.

“At first you were mad, and I was mad, but I didn’t need somebody else to get thrown out for me to get beat. I just went on to the next play,” Judge said. “I know [Anthony] Rizzo had a big bat behind me. I’d be a little happier to get some runs instead of us brawling out there. … We took care of business and moved on.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *