ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Yankees Manager Joe Girardi has seen enough of his players getting hit by pitches from the Rays lately.
Derek Jeter was plunked on the left hand by Steve Geltz in the eighth inning of a 6-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Sept. 16, the fifth time a New York batter has been hit by a Rays pitcher in the past week.
“It’s a sensitive subject here,” Jeter said. “You get a few guys hit … I’m sure there’s a lot of frustration, like they were frustrated when they almost got hit. So it’s on both sides.”
Girardi came out of the dugout and was ejected after New York’s captain was hit.
“I’m all for pitching inside, but you’ve got to know how to pitch inside because it’s extremely dangerous,” Girardi said. “I don’t know what they expect … you hit five of our guys in four games, you don’t think we’ll be (mad)?”
Geltz was surprised by Girardi’s reaction.
“I felt like that he of all people should know, those guys that have been around baseball forever, you should know that it’s not intentional,” Geltz said. “It’s an 0-2 count. I’m trying to get him out. I’m not trying to hit him. It’s Derek Jeter. I’m not trying to hit Jeter.”
New York reliever David Phelps was ejected by plate umpire Rob Drake in the bottom half after throwing a tight pitch to Kevin Kiermaier. Both dugouts and bullpens emptied, but little occurred except for a couple players being restrained by teammates or coaches. Yankees coach Tony Pena also was ejected.
“My guy gets tossed for what?” Girardi said. “He didn’t hit nobody.”
Jeter and Chase Headley have been hit twice each since Sept. 9 and Brian McCann once. Headley was struck by Jake McGee on the chin on Sept. 11.
“I understand their frustration,” Rays Manager Joe Maddon said. “I get it totally. No definite intent on our part.”
Jeter, who is retiring at the end of the season, was honored in a pregame ceremony and went 0 for 2. He is hitless in 26 at-bats, the second-longest skid of his career, dropping his batting average to .249.
Jake Odorizzi (11-12) allowed one run and five hits over six innings.
Michael Pineda (3-5) gave up two runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings for the Yankees, who began the night six games back for the second AL wild card.
Ichiro Suzuki had a second-inning RBI single, but the Rays tied the score in the fifth on Pineda’s error when he failed to catch a flip from McCann, the first baseman.
Yunel Escobar had a run-scoring bunt single in the sixth, and the Rays broke open the game with a four-run seventh. Evan Longoria and Nick Franklin had RBI singles, and pinch-hitter Wil Myers drove in two runs with a sacrifice fly, a drive to deep center that Jacoby Ellsbury caught with a diving grab.
Among the gifts given to Jeter after a video tribute were a kayak in Yankees colors with the No. 2 on it and a framed Rays jersey of Tampa Bay senior adviser Don Zimmer, who died this year. Jeter developed a close relationship with him during Zimmer’s eight seasons as Yankees bench coach.
Zimmer’s widow, Soot, took part in the ceremony. “I did not want anything to detract from the evening,” Maddon said. “For me, I was upset for that reason. I thought our ceremony before the game was outstanding.”