Kikuchi 'a little embarrassed' after on-field collision with A's Soderstrom

June 10th, 2024

OAKLAND -- It was a play that only could have happened at the Coliseum.

The Blue Jays had just taken the lead on Isiah Kiner-Falefa's bases-clearing double in the 10th inning of their eventual 6-4 win, and they were looking to keep the line moving. With Kiner-Falefa on second and one out, Davis Schneider popped a ball into foul territory on the first-base side.

A's first baseman Tyler Soderstrom raced to track down the ball, which eventually landed just in front of the visitors' dugout. Soderstrom was about to make the catch when Blue Jays left-hander Yusei Kikuchi barreled out of the dugout and collided with him.

It was ruled interference on the dugout, and Schneider was called out. Fortunately, both Kikuchi and Soderstrom were unhurt after the collision.

"With the way our dugouts are, guys are sitting on the top step and it's somewhat uncomfortable when the ball is coming in at you," A's manager Mark Kotsay said. "I think he was just trying to really get out of the way so he didn't get hit with the foul ball and inadvertently kind of laid his shoulder into Tyler."

Speaking with the media after the game, Kikuchi confirmed that he had just been trying to move out of the way and repeatedly expressed regret for the situation.

"I forgot that there's no fence," Kikuchi said through interpreter Yusuke Oshima. "After, I just wanted to create a little hole and hide inside it, because I was a little embarrassed."

There was some ensuing commotion on the field after the play, which Blue Jays manager John Schneider chalked up to some suspicion from the A's that Kikuchi had run into Soderstrom on purpose.

"The last thing Yusei Kikuchi is going to try to do is tackle a first baseman," Schneider said. "I get where emotions are when you're in a close game and extra innings and things like that. So yeah, caught a little bit of it, but I love the way the guys stuck up for their teammates."

The Coliseum is the only Major League ballpark that does not have railings in front of the dugouts, and Blue Jays starter Bowden Francis couldn't think of a Triple-A ballpark he had played at in recent years without them, either.

It's one of the many quirks of the A's home ballpark, which opened in 1966 (as a football stadium) and has retained several other old-school features, such as bullpens on the field.

"That's part of this ballpark," Francis said. "I think it's cool, though. It's funny to look down from the bullpen. You see the coaches kind of like kneeling over their knee. It looks like it's like the 1940s."