NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Steve Pearce insists “there was nothing malicious” about his slide into Yankees third baseman Kelly Johnson.

New York manager Joe Girardi would disagree.

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“You have to make an attempt for the bag, and there was no attempt for the bag,” Girardi said after Sunday’s 8-0 loss at Yankee Stadium. “That was pretty malicious. I’m all for playing hard — I don’t have a problem with playing hard, I took guys out — but that’s a pretty dangerous one because you’re going after someone on the slide. That’s how you hurt knees.”

Pearce took out Johnson, who was fielding a Nelson Cruz grounder with two men on in the eighth inning. Johnson stepped on the bag for the force out and then threw it away while trying for the double play at first.

Umpires huddled but didn’t call interference, and because the ball sailed into the stands, both runners advanced. After an intentional walk, J.J. Hardy broke the game open with a bases-clearing double.

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Girardi said it was a “violent” play.

“There was nothing malicious about it,” Pearce said. “I’m just trying to play the game. If he feels that way, I’m sorry, but I was not trying to hurt the guy. I was just trying to break up the double play.”

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