Russell Martin said there was "no doubt about it" that Josh Rupe's pitch that caught him between the shoulder blades in the ninth inning Saturday night was intentional.
Why was he convinced?
"It was the two home runs before and then the pitch afterward," he said. "It made me feel better when Gardner hit a home run after that. I was joking around, I said that I had a knot in my right shoulder and he kind of worked it out, so I appreciate that."
But he, and the rest of the team, including Joe Girardi, were hardly jovial about what happened.
"It was right at his head," was all Girardi would say when asked about it.
But Mark Teixeira said plenty.
"That's a heck of a coincidence if it wasn't intentional," he said. "And I've never understood it; never understood why guys choose to hit someone when they hit two home runs. It's happened to me plenty of times in my career and every time it happens, it just doesn't make any sense."
Rupe said his control simply wasn't there, though he and manager Buck Showalter acknowledged it didn't look good.
"Yeah, when I threw the pitch and saw what happened, obviously I had no intent to hit him," Rupe told Baltimore reporters. "Then I came back and looked at the video and it didn’t look good. There’s no way that I would do that and intentionally go at somebody’s head or go way up there. I know how to hit a guy when the situation calls for it and that wasn’t it. No, I wouldn’t do it.”
Certainly the sequence adds a bit more intrigue to Freddy Garcia's start Sunday afternoon.
"I think situations like that, moments like that [Gardner following with a HR], just bring out team closer together," Alex Rodriguez said.