4 more Rays batters hit and tempers flare versus Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG — Randy Arozarena had enough.

Yankees right-hander Albert Abreu plunked him in the hip during the eighth inning Sunday, and the Rays slugger slammed his bat down and screamed out at Abreu. It was the fourth time a Rays batter had been hit by a pitch in the game and he lost his temper. The Rays dugout poured out, followed by the Yankees.

“I think it was on purpose. If you look back at previous series, he’s hit me before; I’ve been hit in previous years before that,” Arozarena said via interpreter Manny Navarro. “They hurt Yandy (Diaz) the other day; they hit (Isaac) Paredes in the head today.

“So I think it probably was an issue for them.”

It has been an issue for the Yankees and Rays over the years, and on Sunday it boiled over. No punches were thrown, but the dugouts cleared twice in the eighth inning of Tampa Bay’s 7-4 win in front of 22,624 at Tropicana Field.

Diaz missed Saturday and Sunday’s games with a swollen and sore left forearm after being hit by a 97-mph Jonathan Loaisiga fastball. On Sunday, the hits kept coming.

In a very scary moment, Paredes took an Ian Hamilton, 95-mph fastball off his batting helmet right behind his ear.

“Thank God I feel good. I already had the doctor check on me and everything is fine,” Paredes said through Navarro.

But Paredes was clearly ticked off by how unbalanced it has been.

“This goes back to the first years of playing them when Randy got hit multiple times. It seems kind of obvious that it could have been on purpose,” Paredes said. “I don’t know if it’s trying to back them up or anything but I think it’s just a lot of frustration on both sides.”

When Arozarena got hit in the eighth, it was the 12th time a Rays batter was beaned this season by Yankees pitchers. The Rays pitchers have hit two Yankees this season, including Oswald Peraza on the hand of a checked swing Sunday.

“We are all frustrated because it just happens like they hit us a lot,” Arozarena said. “The 95-mile-an-hour pitches, it hurts anytime I get hit. From here on out it’s going to bother me because it’s something that I think it just reoccurs too many times.”

Diaz and Arozarena have been hit three times against the Yankees this season. Arozarena was hit twice in a May 5 game by the Yankees pitchers Jhony Brito, who he had homered off the previous at-bat, and Abreu.

Sunday, Arozarena and the Rays had enough.

“I don’t know why. It just seems like they always want to hit Randy,” Arozarena said.

Abreu understood how bad it looked, but insisted it was not intentional.

“Immediately after I hit him, I’m like, ‘Oh, man, that’s the second time I hit him.’ I definitely don’t want to do that,” Abreu said through Yankees’ interpreter.

It did not end there, however,

As Arozarena stole third base, Abreu yelled over at him and the two jawed back and forth. Both dugouts cleared at that point as well.

While manager Aaron Boone and most of the Yankees tried to downplay the situation, like most of the Rays, reliever Ian Hamilton leaned into it.

“I understand it,” Hamilton said of the Rays’ frustrations, “but at the same time, if they want to come over here, they can come over here. I wish we had another game against them.”

They do not have another regular-season game this year, and they are heading in different directions.

The Yankees dropped to six games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 1992 season and are certainly facing a long offseason. The Rays gained a game in the race for the American League East and are two behind the Orioles and in control of a wild card.

“Looking at it in a different view, that’s a last-place team, we don’t need to worry about it,” Brandon Lowe said of the Yankees. “We need to focus on what we need to do down the stretch. But if they lose a guy, it’s not going to be quite as big of a deal as when we lose one of our guys. We’re focused on kind of the bigger picture thing.”

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