Shawn Kelley has been involved in two incidents during the first three games of a four-game series between the Twins and Rangers in Arlington, Texas.
During Minnesota’s 12-7 win Saturday night, the 35-year-old right-hander got Marwin Gonzalez to ground out for the third out of the eighth inning. Gonzalez slammed his bat down while running to first base, which led to him and Kelley jawing at each other.
The benches cleared and both players had to be held back from each other, but it was an otherwise tame situation.
Kelley is the same pitcher who retaliated in Thursday’s game by intentionally hitting Max Kepler with a 93 mph fastball after Jake Cave swung at a 3-0 pitch and singled when the Twins were up big in the ninth inning.
Kelley clearly follows the long arm of baseball’s unwritten laws, so it wouldn’t be a shock if he got mad at Gonzalez for slamming his bat down.
No one will know for sure, but Rangers manager Chris Woodward claims that neither player was yelling at each other and that it was a big misunderstanding.
“Basically two frustrated guys,” Woodward said, via the Twins. “They weren’t talking to each other. One was mad he hit a ground ball and the other was mad he gave up a run. Both kind of yelled at the same time, and one thought one was talking to the other. It was nothing. Obviously, two guys were heated. There was no beef between each other.”
Take it for what it is, but it’s hard to believe considering Kelley raised the tension level just two days earlier.
Regardless, the Twins got homers from C.J. Cron and Miguel Sano, and three hits apiece from Sano, Gonzalez, Jake Cave and Jorge Polanco to pace the offense. Plus, the Indians lost so the Twins’ lead in the AL Central is up to 2.5 games entering play Sunday.
Minnesota goes for the four-game sweep Sunday at 1:10 p.m.