Detroit – Riley Greene, before he knocked a walk-off home run into the center field shrubs Saturday giving the Tigers a thrilling 4-3 win, found himself caught in a crossfire between shortstop Javier Báez and Royals reliever Amir Garrett.
This was in the sixth inning and Greene had just been called out on strikes by home plate umpire CB Bucknor on a pitch that replays showed was below the bottom of the strike zone. What Greene might not have known at the time was that Báez, who was on deck, and Garrett have been beefing with each other since 2017.
“Yeah, (Garrett) was fired up,” Greene said. “He threw a good pitch. Could’ve gone either way, to be honest. Whatever happens, happens. It’s over.”
Well, probably not.
The most recent squabble between Báez and Garrett came last July when Báez, then playing for the Cubs, hit a walk-off homer against Garrett, then with the Reds. Báez was yapping as he walked into the batter’s box that day, yapping after he made contact and yapping as he took his sweet time enjoying the moment circling the bases.
Garrett had his back turned to him for most of that but got in his own verbal jabs later.
The two didn’t even face each other Saturday but they were shouting at each other across the diamond after Greene’s at-bat and more when Báez went back out to play shortstop in the seventh.
“He can do whatever he wants,” Báez said after. “I got nothing. It’s part of his game and he knows my game.”
Garrett left without speaking to reporters after the game.
“The uniform change didn’t do a lot for that competition between them,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “I had a pretty good seat for that. Both are very competitive dudes and they have not forgotten their past.”
Báez was asked if he wished Garrett would have stayed in the game in the seventh so he could have batted against him.
“He didn’t ask for it,” Báez said.
Stay tuned. These two teams play 14 more times this season.