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Jose Bautista’s latest bat flip riles Braves: ‘Surprised he’s ready to fight after last year’

There was no love lost in a particularly tense interleague affair between the Blue Jays and Braves on Wednesday that included a Jose Bautista bat flip, one of two incidents that cleared the benches in an 8-4 Atlanta win. 

The first occurred in the top of the seventh inning when Braves reliever Jason Motte quick-pitched Kevin Pillar into an inning-ending strikeout. Pillar, none too pleased, muttered something toward Motte that caught the attention of catcher Kurt Suzuki.

The three exchanged words as their teammates filtered onto the field, but umpires were able to corral the sides without incident. All clear.

That was until the top of the eight inning, when Bautista blasted an Eric O'Flaherty pitch 407 feet over the left-field fence, trimming the Braves' lead to four. The Blue Jays slugger showboated with his trademark bat flip as he set off for first base, the Braves took exception, and players reconvened for another on-field gathering. 

"It's turning to look at me stuff, it's not even about winning anymore. Once they hit a home run in a five-run game, pimp it, throw the bat around, it's frustrating as a pitcher," O'Flaherty said after the game. "I didn't see it at the time but I saw the video. He looked at me, tried to make eye contact. It's just tired. We've seen it from him enough.

"I'm surprised he's ready to fight again after last year. But he's throwing some looks around. It's what it is."

O'Flaherty, of course, was eluding to Bautista's brush-up with the Rangers' Rougned Odor, which celebrated its one-year anniversary Monday. That ordeal was the byproduct of Bautista's most infamous bat flip, during the 2015 ALDS between Texas and Toronto.

Bautista, for his part, chalked the latest incident up to "competitive juices" that came out in "the wrong moment" and seemed to acknowledged his celebration was wrong place, wrong time.

"It was definitely not something that was fitting for the moment," he said.


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