Manny Machado spikes Steve Pearce

Richard Mackson/USA Today Sports

Manny Machado insists he didn't spike Steve Pearce on purpose in Game 4

John Tomase
October 28, 2018 - 5:06 pm

For someone who insists he's not a dirty player, Manny Machado sure has a habit of doing dirty things.

The latest example: in the ninth inning of the Dodgers' failed comeback against the Red Sox on Saturday night in Game 4 of the World Series, Machado spiked Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce in the heel while being erased at first.

Afterward Boston's 9-6 victory, Machado insisted the play was accidental. But coming after a similar collision with Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, plus a contested slide into Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia last season, Machado hasn't exactly earned the benefit of the doubt.

Machado defended himself by noting that Pearce is one of his closest friends in baseball. "We're kind of, almost, best friends," he said.

"He was at my wedding; his daughter was my flower girl," Machado continued. "It's late in the year; our legs are giving out on us, and you're just trying to get to first base as fast as possible. Sometimes, it just happens."

Before the World Series, Pearce leaped to the defense of Machado, telling that he's misunderstood and adding, "He's the best person I know in this game."

Speaking to reporters on Sunday before Game 5, Pearce said he didn't notice anything. Third baseman Rafael Devers had just made a nice stop on Machado's smash, and Pearce was focused on fielding the throw.

"No, I'm all good. I'm all good," Pearce said. "That was one heck of a play by Devers. That was my focus. And I didn't even -- I barely even felt it. No, it wasn't frustrating. I'm glad we got the out."