Back on May 30, the Boston Red Sox had the last laugh in a heated game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Batters were hit, words were exchanged, players were ejected and tempers flared, but the Red Sox walked it off on a hit by A.J. Pierzynski.
The feud started when Rays pitcher David Price hit Boston slugger David Ortiz with a pitch in the first inning — the first time they faced off against each other since Ortiz hit two home runs off Price in last year's Division Series playoff game.
Ortiz took exception to being plunked and spoke out after the game.
"I had a lot of respect of the guy, man, but it's over," Ortiz told RedSox.com. "I have no more respect for him. Last year we kick his [butt] in the playoffs, he went off, talking [trash] about everybody. We kind of got to talk on the phone. We kind of straightened things out. He was kind of upset. Me as a veteran I kind of let him know how things go in this game."
Two more batters were hit — for both teams — in that game, a 3-2 Boston win in 10 innings, which sparked a near-brawl.
Things settled down, with suspensions and fines handed out, and nearly two full months later, they were reunited in Tampa.
Price struck out Ortiz, who was serenaded with boos, in his first at-bat, but Ortiz struck back later. He had an RBI single in the sixth inning which sparked a rally.
Ortiz wasn't hit by a pitch, though. If he was, he promised to "bring the gloves."
Ortiz was also upset by the fact that a Boston relief pitcher, Brandon Workman, was fined and suspended stemming from the May 30 game, while Price only received a fine.
"I thought the rule was for everybody," he fumed to Yahoo.com. "I thought that the minute you figure someone hit someone on purpose -- the rule says it right there -- you're going to follow up with it. In this case, it seems they ain't."
The Red Sox led 3-2 in the sixth inning of Friday's game, but the Rays would get the last laugh this time around. Evan Longoria hit a three-run double in the seventh inning and Tampa Bay would add another in the frame. It held on for a 6-4 victory, which was the team's eighth-straight.
"It felt good [to come through]," Longoria told MLB.com. "It's one of those things, it's definitely nice to be reminded every once in a while you can still hit in those situations. So for me it was good. But more importantly for the team, we're fighting to get back into this thing.
"That team over there, I know they don't believe they're out of it either, so we have to take these opportunities when we get them to try and separate ourselves a little bit from them."
The Rays and Red Sox are both fighting to stay out of the American League East Division cellar — a place they both have spent ample time in this season.
The Rays are 7.5 games out of first place, while Boston sits 10.5 games back. It's an uphill battle for both clubs, especially as they are written off as contenders for this season. Other MLB teams had scouts at this game to evaluate any trade chips before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Price, who seems to be at the forefront of trade talk, struck out 10 batters and improved to 11-7. His mound foe, John Lester, struck out seven in a no-decision. Lester could also be traded within the week.
"Like I said, no hard feelings," Lester told ESPN.com about the trade discussions. "I know what they have to do for their organization. If that involves me, so be it. If it doesn't, I'll keep running out there every five days, pitching, and like I said, hopefully November we'll get something done.''
Used to playing into November in playoff runs, the Rays and Red Sox will likely be more focused on rebuilding than reloading, this year.
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