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Archer's pitch sparks drama with Bautista

Rays right-hander throws behind Toronto slugger, denies intent
MLB.com

TORONTO -- Drama ensued in the opening frame of the Blue Jays' 3-1 win over the Rays on Sunday, when Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer threw a pitch behind Toronto slugger Jose Bautista.

Bautista stared down Archer following the pitch, and the two briefly exchanged words as Bautista jogged off the field after flying out.

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TORONTO -- Drama ensued in the opening frame of the Blue Jays' 3-1 win over the Rays on Sunday, when Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer threw a pitch behind Toronto slugger Jose Bautista.

Bautista stared down Archer following the pitch, and the two briefly exchanged words as Bautista jogged off the field after flying out.

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"I just asked him if he was OK," said Bautista. "He said he's good. That's it."

That may not be the end of it after the two teams were issued warnings by home-plate umpire Jim Wolf, according to Toronto manager John Gibbons.

"I would expect there has got to be some kind of suspension [by Major League Baseball]," Gibbons said. "The way they handle things now, the [Manny] Machado thing the other day, the ball was thrown behind him. Now, if the umpire had not issued a warning, OK, maybe he didn't think something was wrong. Since he issued a warning, maybe he [thinks], 'Ah, something's not right here.'"

Last week, Boston reliever Matt Barnes was suspended four games for throwing a pitch near the head of Baltimore third baseman Machado, who had injured Dustin Pedroia on a slide into second base earlier in their series.

"If the umpire thinks something was issued for a reason, maybe he thought there was some intent, and that's why I would imagine the league would step up like they do most of the time," Gibbons said. "I would be disappointed if they didn't."

Bautista did not go into detail after the game when asked about the possibility of intent, saying, "I don't know." He does not, however, believe that MLB should be policing pitchers more strictly in situations such as this.

Archer, on the other hand, said that he could not hear Bautista as he passed due to the crowd noise, and he denied that there was intent behind the pitch.

"I was just trying to go inside," Archer said. "The ball got away from me a little bit."

On Saturday, the Rays' Steven Souza Jr. was hit on the hand by a pitch from the Jays' Joe Biagini and sat out Sunday's game.

Bautista is no stranger to being pitched inside, or even behind, and has built a reputation of turning those moments into results later in the game. With Toronto down, 1-0, in the bottom of the eighth on Sunday, Bautista tied the game with an RBI double, his 1,000th hit as a member of the Blue Jays.

Video: TB@TOR: Bautista doubles off the wall to tie the game

"I've said this before, around the league, he's kind of viewed as a villain," Gibbons said. "There's no doubt. I think that's partly because he's such a good player, he's burned so many teams, and he's got that edge about him."

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Chris Archer, Jose Bautista