KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Royals insist they weren’t throwing at Nelson Cruz, but Cruz isn’t buying it.
That’s why Cruz took a couple of steps toward the mound Monday after being hit by a Louis Coleman pitch in the ninth inning. Both benches emptied and bullpen members rushed toward home plate, but that’s as far as it went.
When play resumed, Michael Young did his talking with the bat, launching a two-run homer to give the Rangers an 8-4 lead, which became the final margin.
“I know they hit me on purpose,” Cruz said. “They can say whatever they want. If you’ve played the game as long as I have, you know when it’s on purpose.”
Royals catcher Brayan Pena tried to tell Cruz that Coleman was not throwing at him.
“I got mad at him (Pena) because he lied to my face,” Cruz said.
Coleman maintained he was simply trying to come inside with a setup pitch before going away.
Television replays showed Cruz jogging slowly around the bases after a sixth-inning home run off Bruce Chen. That prompted questions about whether the Royals thought Cruz had admired his homer too much.
Asked why he thought the Royals were throwing at him, Cruz said: “Probably because I hit the homer and I see the ball. Everybody does that.”
Young said he wouldn’t comment on what was being said between the lines. His homer was important, Young said, in the context of the ballgame.
“It was a two-run game,” Young said. “The game wasn’t out of hand at all. We still had work to do.”