BALTIMORE -- The TV cameras picked it up toward the end, right around the time Don Long and Mark Trumbo intervened, just before manager Brandon Hyde walked away. Whatever happened between Hyde and Chris Davis prior, whatever led to the dugout altercation that overshadowed Baltimore’s 14-2 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday, neither Hyde nor the Orioles will say.
What’s clear is that frustrations boiled over in the middle of a particularly frustrating stretch for the rebuilding Orioles, with the tension bubbling between their first-year skipper and highest-paid player. And at least one party involved prefers to leave it at that. Davis was not present to speak to the media after Wednesday’s series finale; Hyde offered few details other than saying he was “embarrassed” by the situation.
“We’re going to keep it in-house,” Hyde said. “It’s private.”
When pressed, Hyde mostly rehashed snippets of what had already played out in public view. Displeased by something that transpired during New York’s two-run fifth, Hyde had words with Davis when he returned to the dugout in the middle of the inning. Davis lunged at Hyde after the exchange got heated and was eventually held back by Long and Trumbo while others got between the two. Davis, who was due to bat second that inning, was immediately lifted for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson while Hyde walked down the dugout tunnel.
Hyde returned to the dugout a short time later; Davis left the ballpark before the game ended.
“It was just a disagreement that we had in the dugout. What was said and what was talked about, I’m not going to get into,” Hyde said. "These things happen in competitive environments. It was something that will pass and we'll get through it, but it was just unfortunate it happened in the dugout.”
Later in his postgame media session, Hyde said of such outbursts, “I don’t think it’s common, but it happens on occasion,” before again expressing remorse that this one was caught on camera.
Speaking for Davis in an otherwise quiet clubhouse, Trumbo offered a similar takeaway, calling the incident “not ideal, but not that big a deal.”
“I think everybody was pretty frustrated, and these things tend to happen,”said Trumbo, who hasn’t played this year as he continues to recover from right knee surgery last September. “Hopefully, they don’t happen in front of everybody, but in this case it did.”
Asked if he considers Davis’ reaction appropriate, Hyde said, “We were saying words back to each other, and things got a little bit heated, and that was the extent of it. But it is what it is.”
Hyde and Trumbo both characterized the episode as a natural competitive reaction to the club’s season-long struggles against the Yankees, with Wednesday serving as a microcosm.
Baltimore has now lost 12 straight and 13 of 15 this season to New York, allowing a Major League-record 52 home runs in those contests. Five more came on Wednesday: Kyle Higashioka (twice), Gio Urshela (twice) and Cameron Maybin went deep to set the mark, the most by one team against one opponent in a single season in MLB history.
Higashioka’s three-run homer in the fourth came off starter John Means, who lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his return from the injured list. He struck out five, including Higashioka in the second inning. Urshela homered in the fifth and sixth, and Maybin and Higashoika did so in the ninth to give the Yankees 16 in this three-game set, during which they outscored the Orioles, 31-11. The Orioles have now lost 14 consecutive games to the Yankees at Camden Yards dating back to last season.
“Frustration boils over a little bit when we’re not playing our best baseball the last couple games,’ Hyde said. “It’s just something that happens sometimes.”
Hyde has been perhaps Davis’ most outspoken supporter since taking the helm, publicly backing Davis through his historic early-season hitless streak, mid-June relegation to bench role and various other struggles. Davis has largely reciprocated, speaking positively of Hyde as recently as this week.
Even late Wednesday, Hyde said that he and Davis have a "good relationship” regardless of its very public recent fissure. If nothing else, it further underscored the tenuous position Davis -- who had to defend his work ethic during his tough 2018 campaign -- is in despite the $161 million contract that ties him to Baltimore through 2022. Thrust back into an everyday role recently with the Orioles playing with a two-man bench, Davis is hitting .182 with a .589 OPS and 111 strikeouts over 84 games this season.
Baltimore is 38-76 in Hyde’s first year as manager.
“We’re ready to move on from this series,” Hyde said. “We were playing really good baseball going in, and the last few nights really got away from us, obviously, … I’m looking for a fresh start.”