Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon delivers to the Angels in the second inning… (Gail Burton / Associated…)
Reporting from Baltimore — The Orioles' Mark Reynolds on Sunday accused Angels pitcher Ervin Santana of intentionally hitting him in the head with a fastball the night before. And a couple of hours later Baltimore pitcher Alfredo Simon stood up for his teammate by throwing at two Angels in the first inning, actions that will likely earn him a fine and suspension.
"We just got hit yesterday and I've got to defend my players," said Simon, who threw up and in to Torii Hunter before hitting rookie Mark Trumbo, the next hitter, with his first pitch.
"Our guy got hit hard and that's what happens in this game. I've got to defend my hitters and my team."
After Reynolds' first-inning home run off Santana gave the Orioles a 5-0 lead Saturday, the Angels pitcher hit the next batter, Nolan Reimold, then drilled Reynolds in the head in his next at-bat two innings later.
"I don't think he tried to hit me in the head [but] I think he hit me on purpose," said Reynolds, who was taken to the hospital Saturday for a CT scan and was held out Sunday as a precaution.
Santana and Angels Manager Mike Scioscia disagreed, saying that Santana was simply trying to pitch inside and missed his spot. Reynolds took exception to that, though, saying that from where catcher Bobby Wilson set up, Santana missed his spot by about two feet.
After Simon hit Trumbo, umpire Laz Diaz jumped from behind the plate and emphatically issued warnings to both benches. Yet when Orioles reliever Brad Bergesen drilled Angels catcher Jeff Mathis in the head in the sixth, Diaz allowed him to stay in the game.
"I really don't think he was trying to do [that], to be honest," Scioscia said of Bergesen, who grabbed his head and bent over on the mound as if to indicate it was an accident. "When a guy gets hit in the head, usually there's action taken after a warning. But Laz Diaz said he didn't think there was intent."
Playing for something
During Vernon Wells' nine seasons in Toronto, the Blue Jays finished within 10 games of the division lead just once, making this season the first in which he has played meaningful games in the final two weeks.
And he's enjoying the experience.
"In this position, obviously each little moment means more in each game. I think that's the biggest difference," said Wells, who hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning Sunday. "Being aware of what's going around you is heightened. It's a lot better atmosphere to be around when you're thinking about getting to that next level."
The Angels are playing on the East Coast this week with division-leading Texas three time zones away. That means the Angels' results will go up on the scoreboard about the time the Rangers take the field.
And Bobby Abreu, who has played in the postseason four times, said that can work to the Angels' advantage.
"You put some pressure on them. That just makes them look up, 'hey we have to win today. If we lose, it's going to be another game,'" Abreu said. "For us, it's good."