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Rays' Kevin Kiermaier hit by pitch in apparent retaliation for swiping Blue Jays' scouting card

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 9/23/2021 Steve Gardner, USA TODAY

Baseball's unwritten rules reared their ugly head once again on Wednesday as Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier was hit in the back by a pitch from Toronto Blue Jays reliever Ryan Borucki. 

Both teams benches emptied almost immediately. Borucki and Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker were ejected from the game, which the Rays went on to win 7-1 and clinch the first American League playoff spot of the season. 

"Oh yeah, it was intentional," Kiermaier said after the game. "Pretty much almost went behind me. I thought it was a weak move, to be quite honest. It’s over. It’s didn’t hurt by any means, so I don’t care. Whatever. We move on. We got a series win, and I hope we play those guys, I really do."

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The dustup most likely stemmed from an incident in Monday night's game between the two teams when Kiermaier was safe on a close play at the plate. As he and Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk made contact, the scouting report card that Kirk had attached to his wristband fell to the ground. Kiermaier picked it up and carried it back to the Rays dugout. 

a group of baseball players standing on top of a field: Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier is held back by home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman after he was hit by a pitch from Blue Jays pitcher Ryan Borucki, left, in their game on Wednesday. © Chris O'Meara, AP Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier is held back by home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman after he was hit by a pitch from Blue Jays pitcher Ryan Borucki, left, in their game on Wednesday.

The Jays asked to have the card returned, but the Rays refused. However, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash apologized to the Blue Jays organization on Tuesday and Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said the matter was “agua under the bridge.”

Then again, maybe not.

At the time, the Rays held a 7-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning as the defending American League champions became the fourth MLB team to clinch a playoff berth this season.

The San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers have already secured playoff spots in the National League, while the Chicago White Sox will have to wait another day to wrap up the AL Central title. Their game in Detroit and second-place Cleveland's game against Kansas City were both rained out.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rays' Kevin Kiermaier hit by pitch in apparent retaliation for swiping Blue Jays' scouting card

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