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Lowell Cohn: Tigers' Victor Martinez lost battle with A's Grant Balfour

  • Home plate umpire Gary Darling, center, stands between Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez, left, and Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Grant Balfour during the ninth inning of Game 3 of an American League baseball division series in Detroit, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

"I was a little confused at that point," Balfour said. "Every time I make a pitch, I walk down the mound. It's what I do. He had his eyes locked on me like he wanted to come out. So I said, 'Hey, man, you want to stare me down like that. Come on out. I don't really care.' So he came out."

Note: We know Balfour didn't quite say it like that. He definitely used the word @#%&, but he was cleaning up his language for the press.

"He knows what he was doing," Balfour said. "I'm cool with it. He's a great competitor, a great hitter. I feel a fire. Obviously, he does, too. It makes it more fun."

Oakland A's vs. Detroit Tigers ALDS Game 3

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Balfour was puzzled because he had not thrown anywhere near Martinez' head.

"Here's this guy's staring at me. I mean I didn't go in there (at Martinez) the whole at bat. He was staring me down. If I started staring at you (the media) like this, it's kind of odd. You don't do it to people unless you want to come out there and get a piece of someone."

The consensus in the postgame A's clubhouse was a colossal failure of communication between Martinez and Balfour.

"He's always screaming," catcher Stephen Vogt said of Balfour. "He's screaming at himself before he even throws a pitch. I just saw Balfour being Balfour. Maybe Martinez didn't like that. I know about Balfour. He never yells at a hitter. He's always yelling at himself. He gets himself fired up."

Josh Reddick, who hit a fourth-inning home run – one of three by the A's – addressed the "Affair Balfour."

"We love Balfour. That's' the way he's got to pitch."

How would Reddick describe Balfour's use of language?


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