The timing of that fastball, and the fact that it struck Torii Hunter in the ribcage, contradicted his assertion and led a bench-clearing fray in the latter stages of the Baltimore Orioles' 4-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.
Hunter yelled at Norris, and as he made his way toward first base, the Tigers outfielder moved slightly in the direction of the mound. That caused both dugouts to empty, and relievers from both bullpens charged toward the infield.
“I’m sorry he didn’t appreciate it,” Norris said, “but at the same token, I’m trying to throw a ball over the plate and get an out, ground ball to third base or something.”
Order was quickly restored before anyone blatantly shoved each other, and no punches were thrown.
“Kinsler hits a two-run homer and then the next hitter gets drilled,” crew chief Bob Davidson said. “I thought Hoye handled it properly. I think that’s what anybody would have done. It’s a fastball that drilled the guy in the ribs, and I think Hoye did the right thing. … As an umpire, it wasn’t rocket science.”
“He’s entitled to his opinion, but I think he did overreact a little bit,” Norris said.
Hunter said: “I mean, the guy had great control. So what, he all of a sudden lost it?”
Hunter acknowledged that he got swept up by the emotion of the moment and probably wasn’t going to charge the mound.
“It’s like a pickup basketball game. There’s a foul and two guys argue,” he said. “There’s a lot of adrenaline going. Once you calm down and think about the situation… it doesn’t make sense. I’m too old for this stuff. I’ve got kids in college. I can’t be doing that.”
“He had a real good outing against a tough lineup,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Unfortunately, Porcello (was) a little better.”