It’s safe to say that Tim Anderson and the Kansas City Royals aren’t big fans of each other.
Benches cleared during an April 17 game when Royals pitcher Brad Keller plunked the Chicago White Sox shortstop.
The move was in response to Anderson flipping his bat after hitting a home run earlier in the game.
Anderson plunked again
On Wednesday, the two teams met for the third game of a three-game set. Anderson had missed the prior two games of the series nursing a wrist injury.
But he was back in the lineup for Wednesday’s series finale. And in his first at-bat in the bottom of the second inning, he took an 86-mph pitch to the head from Royals starter Glenn Sparkman.
Anderson’s helmet flew off, and he glared at Sparkman after gaining his composure.
Home plate umpire Mark Carlson immediately walked toward the mound to signal that Sparkman’s day was done.
Royals catcher Martin Maldonado protested the ejection and was joined by manager Ned Yost to plead Sparkman’s case. But it was to no avail, obviously. Carlson was clearly aware of the history between the two teams and took no chances that things would escalate.
Benches don’t clear this time
Unlike the April 17 incident, cooler heads prevailed. The benches remained intact, and Anderson took first base after the arguing had concluded.
The Royals were presumably making the case that Sparkman’s pitch was an errant one and that he didn’t intend to hit Anderson.
Even if true, that’s tough case to make considering the history between the teams and the fact that it was Anderson’s first at-bat of the series. If Sparkman didn’t mean to hit him, that’s a whopper of a coincidence.
Regardless, Carlson couldn’t let it fly and got the situation under control in quick fashion.
Anderson hits game winner
Anderson went on to break a 7-7 tie in the 8th inning with an RBI double that provided the final score of Chicago’s 8-7 victory.
“I think it was just bad timing,” Anderson said of the pitch. “But it happened and I was able to get the hit to win the game. So it was a little payback.”
Yost staunchly denies the plunking was intentional
Yost delivered an impassioned denial after the game that Sparkman had intentionally hit Anderson with the pitch.
Yost on the ejection after Tim Anderson was hit: "As far as we're concerned, coming into this series we had no animosity toward that young man. None. To think that we're going to hit him is ludicrous... We're not like that." #AlwaysRoyal pic.twitter.com/gzBwgM9HCc
— FOX Sports Kansas City (@FSKansasCity) May 30, 2019
“We had no animosity toward that young man - none,” Yost said. “And to think that we’re gonna hit him on purpose is ludicrous, one.
“Two, it was a changeup. It was forgotten. He’d done his part, we’d done our part. It was done. It was over. It was nothing. There was no ill feeling, no ill will, no nothing. It would be totally ignorant on our part to hit him again, for what? We don’t play that game. We’re not like that. It was done, it was forgotten. He got under a changeup and hit him in the helmet. You saw what happened from there.”
Anderson feels lucky
Anderson said he felt fortunate that the pitch didn’t do any damage and agreed with the decision to toss Sparkman.
“It could have went either way,” Anderson said of the pitch that knocked his helmet off. “A ton of things could have happened. Good thing it didn’t do any damage. I was able to stay in the game and keep my composure.”
The White Sox and Royals next face each other on July 15.
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