Blue Jays plunk Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier in apparent retaliation over pitching card dispute

Perhaps everything isn’t “aqua under the bridge” between the Blue Jays and Rays after Toronto reliever Ryan Borucki committed an apparent act of revenge against Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier in the teams’ series finale on Wednesday.

With Tampa Bay comfortably leading 7-1, Borucki opened the eighth inning by hitting Kiermaier directly in the back. Both benches immediately cleared, and both Borucki and Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker were ejected from the game.

The 93 mph plunking doesn’t come as a total surprise: During the Rays’ 6-4 win on Monday night, Kiermaier slid into home base and was caught taking a card that fell from Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk’s wristband that detailed their pitching plan against the defending American League champions. Kiermaier picked up the fallen card, and brought it back to Paul Hoover, the franchise’s major league field coordinator.

According to SportsNet, the Blue Jays sent a bat boy to the Rays’ dugout to retrieve the card, though he was promptly denied.

Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke to his Toronto counterpart about the incident ahead of their game on Tuesday; Charlie Montoyo confirmed later that Cash apologized to him, saying the issue was “aqua under the bridge.”

Montoyo’s comment, however, was made with the backdrop of a 4-2 Toronto win against the Rays. It was clear on Wednesday that the Blue Jays — in a tight race for a wild-card spot with the Red Sox and Yankees — would not win the series.

Following the incident, Tampa went on to win 7-1, becoming the first American League team to clinch a spot in the playoffs this season.

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