The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus downplays 3 hit batsmen in Detroit's 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay
DETROIT - Tigers manager Brad Ausmus insists there were no guilty parties after three players were hit by pitches in Detroit's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I never thought there was any malice on either side," he said.
The Tigers lost 6-3 on Friday night, and Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon wasn't around for the end after his sixth-inning ejection. Maddon was upset when both benches were warned after Rays starter Alex Cobb hit Detroit's Ian Kinsler with an offspeed pitch.
Last year, Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello was suspended five games for throwing at Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist. On Friday, Cobb hit Victor Martinez in the fourth, Detroit's Drew Smyly hit Evan Longoria in the sixth, and then Kinsler was hit to lead off the bottom of the sixth.
"I didn't think Cobb meant to hit Victor, I didn't think Smyly meant to hit Longoria, and I didn't think Cobb meant to hit Kinsler," Ausmus said. "No one tried to hit anyone."
Maddon said he felt the Tigers intentionally hit Longoria, but he said the Rays weren't throwing at Kinsler immediately afterward.
"We hit Victor, yes. Totally accident, he pulls a fastball. Then they intentionally hit Longo," Maddon said. "We're not going to reciprocate right there. We're not, it's over. We're good. But then this whole other thing ensues."
Plate umpire Quinn Wolcott warned both benches. Maddon took a few steps out of the dugout, and second base umpire Greg Gibson seemed to motion to him to stay back. Maddon continued arguing from a distance, and after being tossed, Maddon approached Gibson and kept arguing before finally leaving.
It was Maddon's third ejection of the year and 35th of his career.
The Tigers trailed 5-1 when Maddon was ejected, and Cobb (4-6) didn't get another out. Miguel Cabrera walked and Martinez hit an RBI single. After J.D. Martinez walked to load the bases, Brad Boxberger came on and got Torii Hunter to bounce into a double play that brought another run home.
"The double play was a big bonus, because he's in there to miss bats in that moment," Maddon said. "You want the guy to either put the ball on the ground or be able to punch somebody out. Now if you get a guy who can do both, how good is that guy?"
Don Kelly struck out to end the threat. Desmond Jennings doubled and scored in the seventh for Tampa Bay to make it 6-3.
The Rays had gone 19 straight games against the Tigers without scoring more than four runs, a streak that went back more than three years. Tampa Bay had seven extra-base hits Friday, including a two-run triple by Sean Rodriguez in the sixth.
The Rays' bullpen allowed only one baserunner. Boxberger was perfect for two innings, Joel Peralta worked the eighth, and Jake McGee finished for his fourth save.
Smyly (4-8) allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
"There were too many innings where I got two quick outs and then couldn't finish it off," Smyly said.
Detroit's AL Central lead over Kansas City fell to four games. Victor Martinez left in the eighth because of back irritation.
"He aggravated his side, so we got him out of there," Ausmus said. "The chances of him playing (Saturday) are almost nil, and we'll go day-to-day after that."
Jennings and Zobrist hit back-to-back doubles in the third to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead, and Longoria led off the fourth with his 11th homer of the year. An RBI groundout by Hunter in the bottom of the fourth made it 2-1.
Zobrist hit an RBI double in the fifth, and Rodriguez's triple the following inning brought two more runs in.
NOTES: Peralta made his 267th appearance for the Rays, the most for the franchise by a pitcher. Esteban Yan had 266. ... Austin Jackson struck out four times for Detroit and Eugenio Suarez fanned three times. ... The Rays put LHP Cesar Ramos on the paternity list and recalled LHP Jeff Beliveau from Triple-A Durham. ... Detroit RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-2) faces Tampa Bay RHP Chris Archer (4-5) on Saturday.
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