BOSTON - David Ross wanted to lay down a sacrifice bunt today with a runner on first base and nobody out in the seventh inning of a tie game. Orioles pitcher Bud Norris says he wanted to take the out.
So exactly what happened to make Ross yell at Norris? And to make Orioles catcher Matt Wieters get in Ross’ face?
Ross apparently didn’t like a pitch that rode up and in, and he let Norris know about it.
“He yelled, ‘Make an adjustment,’ ” Norris said following the Orioles’ 4-2 loss at Fenway Park. “He didn’t like the 2-1 fastball in a sac bunt situation riding up on him, and I don’t really understand where it was coming from from his point of view. I’m trying to throw the ball over the plate and take the out, because if you’re giving to me a sac bunt situation, I want the out every time. So, for him to say something is kind of funny considering the fact that he’s been around a while.
“I kind of laughed it off. Obviously, the benches cleared, which was fine, but I came back to get him out and that was a big situation there.”
Norris struck out Ross, but Brock Holt followed with a tie-breaking RBI triple.
Norris said he wasn’t distracted by the incident with Ross.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “He hit a first-pitch fastball that I thought was a good pitch. Could have been a ball and he put the barrel on it and you’ve got to tip your cap to that.”
Wieters looked like he was ready to throw down while defending his pitcher.
“I’m definitely not trying to get him right there,” Norris said. “There may be a point down the road where you’re trying to get somebody, but that wasn’t it and I think he should know better. But Wieters being the force that he is back there, it was great for him to step up and say something. And as a catcher, these guys have a better IQ of the game and I think Wheaty knew what was going on and he stood right in front of him, which was great. That gave me an opportunity to calm down and get back on the mound and pitch from there.
“Both of the first two pitches were sliders. They were in and he’s trying to sac bunt and he didn’t really like it, and that’s OK. The 2-1 was a fastball that got there. He missed the 2-0, too. Like I said, I didn’t really know where it came from and it kind of caught me off-guard.
“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. 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.”
Norris doesn’t have a history with Ross - as far as he knows.
“I don’t think so,” Norris said. “He might have something down the road. Some guys make stuff up sometimes. But I can’t say that I do.”
Both benches were warned, which infuriated the Orioles, considering that no issue was warned when Boston left-hander Felix Doubront hit Chris Davis in the sixth.
“There’s got to be a precedent for on the road and at home,” Norris said. “Two of our guys have already gotten plunked. And here we are, two balls got up and in on him. They didn’t hit anyone by any means, but after that situation, we get warned and I don’t think that’s necessarily fair, because you’ve got to play the game. You have to pitch on both sides of the plate, especially on the road.
“I just kind of explained to them that this is a different game on the road. You have to be cognizant of all that. We hadn’t hit anybody yet. To give out warnings is kind of unfair.”
Asked what happened in the seventh, manager Buck Showalter gave a classic response.
“You mean when Doubront hit Chris, or are you talking about the other one?” he said.
“I guess he thought somebody was throwing at him after two breaking balls and a fastball away. I don’t know. It’s emotional. Ross is a good player, a good catcher and a pro. But I know Matt. 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.”
Davis wasn’t surprised by the incident, which caused both dugouts to empty.
“Not really,” he said. “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.
“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.
“I don’t think Bud was trying to hit him. The guy is trying to get a bunt down and give you an out. He’s not going to be trying to throw at him.”
Here’s Wieters’ interpretation of Ross’ reaction:
“Ross just got upset with a couple balls that just slipped, that got away. Two of them were sliders and more than anything I don’t want anybody talking to the pitcher from the other team. He stopped and we got settled. Then, we just didn’t score enough runs to win the game.
“It’s grown men out there with emotions and anger so you settle down and play the game.”
Wieters added that he was surprised Ross yelled at Norris, “especially because catchers know how balls can sometimes slip and get away. Especially when they had a couple slip and get away. But on top of that, you have emotions going on.”
As for the warnings being issued, Wieters said, “For me, we are never trying to hit anybody, so we’re still going to pitch our game like we’re going to pitch our game. Warnings don’t really mean that much to me other than you are going to just go out there and make your pitches.”