Red Sox catcher rattled after O's righty Norris throws ball up and in
Special to MLB.com
BOSTON -- There are two sides to every story. It was a pitch that was a little too up and in, perhaps with a message attached. Or it was just a pitch.
With the Red Sox and Orioles tied at 2 with one out in the bottom of the seventh on Saturday at Fenway Park in a game Boston would eventually win, 4-2, Mike Carp was on first base after a walk from Baltimore right-hander Bud Norris, and David Ross was trying to move Carp into scoring position.
Norris' fourth pitch to Ross -- who suffered two concussions last season -- got everyone's attention: a fastball, high and inside, as Ross was squaring for a bunt attempt. Ross backed out of the box and let his thoughts be known to Norris.
"Just a couple pulled balls at my head, and it kind of rattled me a little bit," Ross said. "Probably said some things I shouldn't have said. But it's all good. Baseball stuff."
Both benches emptied, and words were exchanged.
"He yelled, 'Make an adjustment,'" said Norris. "He didn't like the 2-1 fastball in a sac bunt situation riding up on him, and I don't really understand where it was coming from, from his point of view. I'm trying to throw the ball over the plate and take the out, because if you're giving to me a sac bunt situation, I want the out every time. So, for him to say something is kind of funny considering the fact that he's been around a while. I kind of laughed it off. Obviously, the benches cleared, which was fine, but I came back to get him out and that was a big situation there."
O's catcher Matt Wieters stepped in front of Ross to prevent him from barking further at Norris.
"I think he said 'Bud, man' or 'Bud,' and then he said, 'Make an adjustment,'" said Norris. "And I said, 'Excuse me?' And that's all I said. And that's right when Wieters stepped in. I kind of smiled and brushed it off. I knew that I was out there to pitch and pitch from there."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter had an extended conversation with home-plate umpire Mark Carlson.
"I guess he thought somebody was throwing at him after two breaking balls and a fastball away," Showalter said. "I don't know. It's emotional. Ross is a good player, a good catcher and a pro. But I know Matt. He's not going to allow somebody to yell at his pitcher like that, especially when he doesn't have any reason to."
But the situation did not escalate.
"Ross just got upset with a couple balls that just slipped, that got away," Wieters said. "Two of them were sliders, and more than anything, I don't want anybody talking to the pitcher from the other team. He stopped and we got settled. Then we just didn't score enough runs to win the game."
Wieters, though, was surprised Ross would get upset.
"Yeah, especially because catchers know how balls can sometime slip and get away," Wieters said. "Especially when they had a couple slip and get away. But on top of that, you have emotions going on and everybody, we got back to the game."
Norris was issued a warning after the pitch, which did not please him.
"We hadn't hit anybody yet," Norris said. "To give out warnings is kind of unfair."
Red Sox starter Felix Doubront was not issued a warning after he hit O's first baseman Chris Davis in the shoulder with a pitch in the sixth inning.
"There was a warning issued to us because of David's reaction," Showalter said. "Maybe we should have reacted when Chris got hit with a 2-0 fastball from Doubront in a one-run game. But we don't react. We got a warning because of Ross' reaction. Go figure."
Last season's concussions, which were the first of his career and caused him to miss a total of 68 games, have Ross on alert.
"I think I'm a little sensitive to balls around my dome after having two concussions last year, missing two months," he said. "That may have been part of it."
Norris eventually struck out Ross, but Brock Holt followed with an RBI triple to put Boston ahead.
The Sox and Orioles play two more games in this series and 14 more times this season.