HOUSTON - Brett Oberholtzer didn't argue or put up a fight. It's likely that he didn't want to stick around much longer anyway.
Oberholtzer allowed Brian McCann's grand slam in the first inning and Chris Young's two-run homer in the second, which gave the Yankees a 6-0 lead in their 9-6 victory over the Astros. One pitch after Young's blast, the lefthander fired an 89-mph fastball that nearly hit Alex Rodriguez.
Plate umpire Rob Drake immediately ejected Oberholtzer, who simply put his head down and walked off the mound before firing his glove off the dugout wall. Drake issued warnings to both teams, and there were no problems the rest of the way.
Oberholtzer, demoted to Triple-A after the game, said the pitch was not intentional. "No," he told reporters in the Houston clubhouse. "I think the situation escalated because it's A-Rod and because Young hit a home run previously on a changeup away. But a lot of these guys' approach is to stand close on the plate and hack. That's what McCann did. Young is a good example. A-Rod's just a great hitter. He made a name for himself in the big leagues for a long time. It is what it is."
Needless to say, the Yankees weren't buying it, nor was Oberholtzer's manager.
"I'd like to go on the record and say that's not the way we operate around here," A.J. Hinch told reporters. "We're disappointed. We're really proud of the way we battled back and played the rest of the game. But obviously, for all the drama that goes on in the beginning of the game when we're getting down with a couple of home runs, we don't operate that way. We won't operate that way. It's not a reflection of anybody around here, including Obie. So the Yankees know, I'll make sure Alex knows and their team. There's no place in our game for that kind of activity."
Said Joe Girardi: "I think it's a kid getting frustrated. I definitely think he threw at Alex. You don't want to see that, but we've seen it before and you just move on."
Mark Teixeira said the pitch "obviously" was intentional. Drake certainly thought it was. "You just don't want to see that," Teixeira said. "There's no reason for it."
Some Yankees yelled from the dugout and CC Sabathia came out of it, pointing and yelling and having to be restrained by Girardi. Sabathia ended up being the only player to exit the dugout and the situation quickly de-escalated.
"That's why I tried to get in front," Girardi said of blocking the 6-7, 285-pound Sabathia. "I know that's not much of a blockade, but I just tried to keep it from escalating. We don't want to get guys tossed, and you don't want to lose players. You take care of it by playing the game."