Jose Bautista was on the receiving end of baseball's unwritten rule as the Toronto Blue Jays crushed the Atlanta Braves 9-0 in MLB.
Bautista knew it was coming. Heck, all of baseball understood he was likely going to be plunked intentionally in his first at-bat of Thursday's series finale with the Braves at SunTrust Park.
The veteran Blue Jays slugger was hit in the hip with a fastball from Julio Teheran, the second of two pitches thrown inside out of retaliation for an unnecessary home run bat flip Wednesday with Toronto trailing by five runs late in a loss to the Braves.
Benches cleared after Bautista flipped his bat high in the air and stared down pitcher Eric O'Flaherty.
Thursday, however, there was no incident. Bautista simply turned his hip into the pitch and jogged to first without exchanging words. Both dugouts were warned by plate umpire Paul Emmel, but the Blue Jays were the only ones doing damage after the HBP.
Toronto scored three runs in the first inning after Bautista became the first Blue Jays baserunner of the night. The American League (AL) East bottom-feeders scored an additional three runs in the third inning that began with a Bautista double and another three runs in the fourth inning in which he added a single. He finished two for four with two runs scored.
The Los Angeles Dodgers accounted for the Miami Marlins 7-2, the Texas Rangers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-4, the Pittsburgh Pirates were too good for the Washington Nationals 10-4, the Kansas City Royals upstaged the New York Yankees 5-1, the Oakland Athletics eased past the Boston Red Sox 8-3, World Series champions the Chicago Cubs topped the Cincinnati Reds 9-5, the Detroit Tigers edged the Baltimore Orioles 6-5, the San Diego Padres lost 4-2 to the Milwaukee Brewers and the Seattle Mariners overcame the Chicago White Sox 5-4.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins split their doubleheader with the Colorado Rockies after triumphing 2-0, having lost the opener 5-1.
RANGERS STAY RED HOT
No team in baseball are hotter than the Rangers. Behind Martin Perez's career-high eight strikeouts and Ryan Rua's tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth, the Rangers topped the Phillies to extend their MLB-best winning streak to nine games, the club's longest since they enjoyed 12 in a row in July 2011.
LEMAHIEU STRUGGLES FOR COLORADO
Rockies infielder DJ LeMahieu went 0 for six in a doubleheader with the Twins. To be fair, the Rockies were unsuccessful as a whole in game two as Jose Berrios was stellar yet again. The young Minnesota right-hander hurled seven innings of scoreless ball, allowing just two hits with 11 strikeouts.
BAEZ WITH THE SLAM
Javier Baez crushed his third-career grand slam over the wall in left-centre field, extending the Cubs' lead over the Reds in a series sweep. Baez finished with a season-high five RBIs as Chicago outscored Cincinnati 25-15 in the series after struggling at the plate for much of this campaign.
INDIANS AT ASTROS
The first time these AL pennant favourites met this season the three-game series was decided by a total of four runs. Friday, the clubs open another three-game set, this time in Houston. Trevor Bauer (3-4, 6.92 ERA) takes on host Charlie Morton (5-2, 3.97 ERA) in game one.