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Blue Jays pitcher Yusei Kikuchi embarrassed after colliding with A's opponent chasing foul pop

Oakland Athletics first baseman Tyler Soderstrom, left, reacts after colliding with Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, right, while trying to catch a ball in foul territory hit by Davis Schneider during the 10th inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 9, 2024. Schneider was ruled out on the play. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Even on a day when he wasn't pitching, Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Yusei Kikuchi ended up right in the middle of the action.

Not in a way he wanted, though.

Kikuchi cost his team an out by bolting from the dugout and colliding with an opponent on a bizarre and wild play in the 10th inning of Sunday's game against Oakland.

With the Blue Jays leading 6-3 in the top of the 10th, Davis Schneider lofted a popup into foul territory near Toronto's dugout on the first-base side at the Coliseum. Blue Jays players watching from in front of the bench scattered as Athletics first baseman Tyler Soderstrom pursued the ball.

Kikuchi, attempting to get out of the way quickly, ran toward the field and crashed right into Soderstrom. Both players were knocked down as the ball fell to the ground.

An incredulous Soderstrom held out both hands after putting his cap back on, and Kikuchi held out his hand as if to apologize.

The umpires got together and ruled Schneider out due to obstruction on a red-faced Kikuchi, the second out of the inning.

“Obviously, I was embarrassed out there,” Kikuchi said through a translator. “It’s probably going viral right now. ... I feel bad and I want to apologize.”

Toronto manager John Schneider conceded Soderstrom probably would have caught the ball.

“I think it kind of landed right where they collided, but no ill intent by any means with Yusei trying to get in the way," Schneider said. "He’s trying to allow him to make a play, so you call obstruction and then the batter’s out. Probably the right call. I’m just glad no one was hurt.”

The Blue Jays defeated the A’s 6-4 in 10 innings.

“I was just running for the ball," Soderstrom said afterward. "Obviously, a lot of foul territory here. Just trying to make a play on the ball and kind of last second, tried to make a move to my left, and there was Kikuchi.”

The Coliseum is the only major league stadium that doesn't have railings in front of its dugouts.

“I kind of realized last minute that the dugout in Oakland doesn’t have a fence,” Kikuchi said. “I just realized a little too late there. ... I just wanted to create a little hole and hide inside it because I was a little embarrassed.”

The teams shouted back and forth after the play, but cooler heads prevailed and the teams remained in their dugouts.

“I think he was just trying to really get out of the way, so he didn’t get hit with the foul ball, and inadvertently kind of laid his shoulder into Tyler,” A's manager Mark Kotsay said. “Thankful that Tyler wasn’t hurt on the play. The umpires got together and got the call right.”

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