Abreu drilling leaves bitter taste in La Russa's mouth
When Houston reliever Kendall Graveman drilled Jose Abreu in the left shoulder with a 3-2 pitch in the eighth inning, it also stung Sox manager Tony La Russa.
After the pitch hit Abreu, La Russa immediately left the dugout, tearing his glasses from his face and voicing his displeasure at home plate umpire Vic Carapazza.
La Russa was still fuming during the postgame news conference and accused the Astros of intentionally hitting the first baseman.
"They should have just ejected him (Graveman)," La Russa said. "It will be a good test of the character and credibility of the winning team. Because it was intentional. The pitcher kept looking in the dugout. So they hit him intentionally. And I will be really curious. They should have the guts to admit that they did it. Why they did it, I have no reason to understand."
After taking a few more questions, he reverted back to talking about the play.
"The stuff there in the eighth inning leaves just a bitter taste in your mouth and in my gut," he said. "There was a character shortage that they should answer for. Stupid too. I will be interested to see if they admit it. If they don't admit it, then they are very dishonest."
When Houston manager Dusty Baker was told that La Russa said the Astros should admit to throwing at Abreu intentionally, Baker said, "I should admit it? No, there is no way. If anybody knew Graveman, the situation and the score of the game, it wasn't indicative as to why you would start a rally."
Baker said: "I don't think there is bad blood between these two teams. Number one, we don't play them enough to come up with bad blood, and number two, they got a number of Latins and we got a number of Latins over here, and anybody would know that Latin American players are close to each other.
"There is no way we were trying to hit Abreu. If you're going to hit him, you're going to hit him long before that. And if there is a reason. There was no reason for us to hit Abreu. He hadn't done anything to us. And the score wasn't indicative of even attempting to start a rally. And Abreu's been hit like 20-something times, and in modern baseball, guys don't try to get out of the way of balls. In my day, you hit the dirt or you turned away from the ball. But today guys are just standing there and taking it. So I beg to differ with Tony."
The scene in the eighth inning was reminiscent of when Abreu was hit in the helmet earlier in the year against Cleveland, La Russa ran out of the dugout to defend his player.
Abreu's body has had a magnetic attraction for pitched balls -- he was hit 22 times during the regular season.