Hitting two grand slams as part of a 10-run inning normally would absorb most of the attention, but not tonight. Not when Chris Davis was hit by a pitch and slammed his bat to the ground, snapping it in half. Not when manager Buck Showalter was ejected and had his face turn beet-red as he screamed at home plate umpire Mark Carlson for not ejecting Royals pitcher Franklin Morales.
It’s hard to shove two grand slams into the back seat of a 14-8 win. The Orioles weren’t thrilled by it, but that was the reality.
Nolan Reimold hit his first career grand slam in the eighth to give the Orioles a lead, the ball ricocheting off the top of the left field foul pole. Manny Machado followed with a solo shot off Morales, who replaced Kelvin Herrera, and a sellout crowd of 45,420 was whipped into a frenzy.
Adam Jones singled and Morales drilled Davis on the right hip. Davis vented without going to the mound, and Showalter was tossed after both benches were warned and Morales stayed in the game.
Steve Clevenger, who pinch-hit for Caleb Joseph earlier in the inning, hit his first grand slam off Joba Chamberlain - who never fails to sink to the occassion - and the Orioles had their revenge.
Davis asked reporters to “tread lightly” as they approached his locker.
“I had one go behind my head the other night (in New York) and then was drilled I think the next at-bat in the arm. We hit a grand slam, another home run, a couple rockets. It just didn’t look right, regardless of whether it was on purpose or not,” said Davis, who also collected a double, RBI single and walk tonight.
“In that situation, you lose your head a little bit, your emotions are high. I’ve played against Franklin for a number of years. I respect him as a player. It is what it is. It’s part of the game, unfortunately.
“There’s been a little bit of feel lost for it. I always thought growing up, if a guy gets drilled, somebody else is going to get drilled and then it’s over. But nowadays it seems to carry over game to game. Hopefully, it’s done with.”
Davis said he wasn’t worried about the situation escalating into a brawl.
“No. The pitch wasn’t at my head. It wasn’t dirty,” Davis said.
“I get it. When you’re getting lit up a little bit, there’s frustration and I appreciate that it wasn’t at my bean like it was the other night. But like I said, it’s an emotional game and sometimes your emotions get the best of you, but hopefully that’s where it stops.”
Showalter was seething as he met with reporters following the Orioles’ third consecutive win.
“You saw it,” Showalter said. “He got hit by a pitch intentionally. Chris has certainly had his share of that. It just happened in New York twice. You get to a point to where your nose is rubbed in it. Sometimes it’s harder to do what Chris did than what some other people might have done. It gets tough time and time again turning the other cheek, but our guys responded well to it.”
Showalter’s primary issue with Carlson was the umpire’s refusal to eject Morales.
“He should have been thrown out of the game. You don’t have to warn anybody if you think somebody’s throwing at him,” Showalter said.
“Whatever comes our way, we’ll handle it. You react to things you don’t think are very ethical and you move on.”
Showalter would prefer that umpires issue a warning only to the team “that did it and not the team that didn’t do anything wrong.”
“That’s the way it used to go,” he said. “You’re basically being penalized for it and their hitters are free to do whatever. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you think through it. But I understand the end game and what they’re trying to do.”
Mychal Givens wasn’t ejected for hitting Kendrys Morales with two outs in the ninth. Morales made a slow walk to first base.
“It is what it is,” Showalter said. “They’re a very good team. One of the best in baseball. They certainly rubbed our, kind of, noses in it the last couple years, and rightfully so, because their skilled and they’re very good.”
Showalter wanted to move on from the topic. Asked about the oddity of having two grand slams hit in the same inning - the Orioles are the only team in baseball history to do it twice, the other on Aug. 6, 1986 by Larry Sheets and Jim Dwyer - Showalter replied, “I didn’t see the second one.”
“It was a big inning for us, obviously,” he added. “I thought we’d make a run at them. We had to do some things different from what you normally do because of how good they are at the end of the game.
“Turned the odds around tonight against one of the better relievers in baseball in that situation.”
The entire game turned on a 10-run inning.
“The biggest part of it is the selectiveness through that inning,” Showalter said. “That’s a challenge. The pitchers don’t always cooperate with you, but there’s about 10 pitchers in each league that make a living out of pitching in the strike zone consistently. They don’t. They have a ball that looks like it’s something hittable when it leaves the sweet part of the bat, a breaking ball, a ball running in one way or the other.
“Guys at this level are in hit mode because they’re good hitters. They’re hard to find. Guys that can hit for an average, walk and not strike out, they’re called Frank Thomas and the guy in Detroit, (Miguel) Cabrera. They’re very rare. When we do that, we’re a force.”
Reimold was designated for assignment on Aug. 24, cleared waivers and accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Norfolk. He came back after rosters expanded, and he turned a 6-4 deficit into an 8-6 lead tonight with one swing of the bat.
“I led him off four games in a row, he’s walked once or twice, he’s been on base every time,” Showalter said. “He’s always had that ability to be that type of guy. And he was telling Brady (Anderson) he’d found a little something about four or five games ago in one at-bat that he really felt comfortable at the plate and locked in and seeing the ball good.
“That’s a tough guy to turn around there and pull, so that gives you an idea how he’s seeing the ball good, lot of walks. He brings an element to our lineup that we don’t have as much of as we need. It’s a nice moment for him. Real proud of him. This is a guy that basically cleared waivers again and he knows we get what he can bring.
“I’m happy for him. That’s probably a highlight when you think about the challenges he’s been through. A lot of people would have given in and he hasn’t. Obviously a huge blow for us. A lot of good at-bats. What did we have seven or eight walks tonight and just one hit by pitch?”
Oh yes, the hit by pitch.
Davis was happy to talk about Reimold.
“I’m extremely excited for him,” Davis said. “You know I was here when he got hurt a couple years ago going into the stands (in Chicago) and have a tremendous amount of respect for him, just the way he plays game, the way he goes about his business. The way he’s fought back and really I think exceeded everybody’s expectations after that kind of injury is just a tribute to what kind of character he has and what kind of guy he is.
“I think (the 10-run inning) is really the story of this game. It’s unfortunate that we’re going to look back on this game and see all negative things and remember it for that, but two grand slams in one inning against that bullpen. To come out and swing the bats like that, it’s huge. It’s huge for this team. It’s a boost that we need and hopefully we can continue that up tomorrow.”
“It’s a little draining after the fact but it’s part of the game. Your emotions, some guys wear them on their sleeves. Most of the time I conceal mine pretty well. Not tonight, obviously. You know, it’s part of the game and it was fun for us to put up those runs and kind of get the momentum in our dugout and to have a game where we didn’t have to bite our fingernails down to the quick. One-run game, two-run game. It was nice to have a lead.”
Reimold produced it.
“I thought going around the bases they were going to challenge it and it was going to be taken away. And it would just be a strike. Didn’t want to be disappointed,” Reimold said.
“I’ve worked hard to get back up here. Just trying to get into a groove and feeling a little bit better. But it’s good to have a good game and it felt good to go around the bases with the crowd cheering in Baltimore.
“I think that’s the opportunity that I need to get out there and play and be consistent and hopefully things go well for me the rest of the year. And hopefully things go well for everybody.”
It also went well for Clevenger, the Pride of Pigtown, in the eighth inning.
“To be honest with you, I thought the grand slam was the inning before. I didn’t realize we had hit two grand slams until I heard it on the TV in the batting cage,” he said.
“It was good. It was surreal to get some runs off their bullpen and get some confidence going into this series.”
Clevenger was sitting on a breaking ball and got it.
“I kind of had a feeling he was going to throw it,” Clevenger said. “He throws a lot of breaking balls later in the count. I kind of watched how he pitched Schoopy (Jonathan Schoop) before me. Once I saw him shake once, I knew he was going to go with the breaking ball since I swung and missed at the 2-1 pitch.”
So what’s bigger, Reimold’s grand slam or Davis being hit by a pitch?
“I think both of them played a part,” Clevenger said. “Nolan definitely hitting the grand slam to put us up, I think it put us up two at the time, that was huge. And then Davis getting hit, that got us motivated and gave us more confidence going into the end. I think we took a little frustration out on their bullpen. It’s good going into the next two games of the series swinging the bats well like we did.”