Detroit — The pitches might have been accidental, as Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus thought they were.
But to Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, one looked intentional
Either way, in a game bubbling with “take that, no, take that,” the Rays downed the Tigers 6-3 at Comerica Park on Friday night.
Rays’ starter Alex Cobb hit two Tigers — Victor Martinez in the fourth and Ian Kinsler in the sixth.
In between, Tigers’ starter Drew Smyly hit Evan Longoria.
Maddon was ejected from the game for over-wondering why the umpires didn’t issue a warning at that point.
“For hitting Longoria intentionally? Yes,” Maddon said after the game.
The Tigers might have bigger problems than the loss of a game, though —just their third defeat in the last 15 games.
Martinez, who missed three games earlier this week against Oakland, is looking at more time out of the lineup because of recurring soreness in his side.
That’s why Martinez left the game in the eighth for pinch-hitter Rajai Davis. It was his side causing his departure, not the discomfort from the pitch that hit his right leg.
“It’s sore,” Martinez said. “My leg is OK. My right side isn’t. I tried to take my last at-bat, but couldn’t.
“This is nothing major,” he added, however.
When asked if the best-case scenario would be to miss the weekend games against the Rays and come back Tuesday night against the Dodgers, Martinez said, “hopefully.
“I’m just taking it day by day and letting it heal.”
Ausmus said the chances of Martinez playing Saturday are “almost nil. We’ll have to be a little more cautious now.”
As for the back-and-forth HBPs, Ausmus downplayed them, though Maddon didn’t.
“I don’t think there was any intent with any of the pitches on which players were hit,” Ausmus said. “I didn’t think Cobb tried to hit Victor. I didn’t think Smyly tried to hit Longoria and I didn’t think Cobb tried to hit Kinsler.
“It was a situation in which three guys were hit, but I don’t think there was any intent or malice.”
The pitch that hit Martinez was by far the hardest of the three — prompting the Tigers’ designated hitter to glare at Cobb. But he said after the game that his leg wasn’t bothering him.
Cobb (4-6) lasted long enough to get the win. Smyly fell to 4-8 with the loss
Leadoff hitter Desmond Jennings was the offensive catalyst for the Rays with three hits, including two doubles, and three runs scored.
Smyly was coming off a start that didn’t please him at all – and this one didn’t exactly thrill him, either.
But the pitcher disagreed with Ausmus about what happened in the sixth, the inning of his departure.
“He was good early, but towards the end he tired rather quickly,” Ausmus said.
“I didn’t think I was tiring,” Smyly said.
The left-hander had been sent back to the team hotel in Houston because of being under the weather, but insisted the next day he was fine to start.
So instead blaming the way he had felt the day before, he merely told the truth about how the Astros beat him: “They brought it, I didn’t.”
To a lesser degree, the Rays brought it, too. In 5 1/3 innings Smyly allowed five runs on seven hits.
“I could never get the third out of an inning,” he said.
In the third with the bases empty, Smyly gave up consecutive doubles with two outs to Jennings and Ben Zobrist for the game’s first run.
That was similar to what happened in the fifth — only this time Jennings singled with two outs and Zobrist again doubled him in.
Longoria hit his 11th home run of the season, leading off the fourth — and Sean Rodriguez’s two-run triple in the sixth was with one out.
“A bad pitch which he did what he was supposed to do with it,” Smyly said of the triple. “That was pretty much the story of the game.”
The Tigers countered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, but they didn’t fully capitalize on a bases-loaded chance with no outs.
That was the story of the game, too.