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La Russa: Ejection was not strategic move

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa says getting ejected near the end of a comeback victory was definitely not a strategic move.

"I never, ever, use the umpires for some kind of competitive or whatever advantage," La Russa said Tuesday. "That's a big no-no. You don't use them to entertain your fans, you don't use them to shift blame from your players or fire them up."

La Russa said he got his first ejection of the season because he had been genuinely upset at balls and strikes calls by home plate umpire Mark Carlson all night.

"Hey, we had a disagreement and I didn't want to go into the clubhouse without saying something," the manager said.

Arizona pitcher Dan Haren, who came up in the Cardinals organization, accused his former manager of gamesmanship after La Russa got tossed for arguing balls and strikes in the ninth inning of a 6-5 victory Monday night.

Haren was far from angry about the resulting delay, but said he'd seen La Russa use the tactic before to ice the opposing pitcher. The Cardinals scored three times in the ninth, benefiting from two hits right after the ejection and a pair of Arizona throwing errors.

"Tony's good at delaying like that," Haren said. "I've seen it before and I knew exactly what he was doing. I can almost tell you before the inning that something like that would happen.

"But he's a great manager and it's one of the things he does. I guess he'll probably use it again because it looks like it works, and that's that."

La Russa said Tuesday that he would never use umpires as a tool to throw off an opposing pitcher, and had a member of Arizona's media relations staff relay that message to Haren. La Russa said he was schooled early in his managerial career that umpires appreciate sincerity, and remembers veteran umpire Bill Haller telling him, "You can't do that or you're going to have a tough time."

The Cardinals opened the ninth with consecutive singles to chase Haren, but Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch didn't think the delay caused by the ejection affected his starter. Haren had finished the eighth strong, striking out Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday with two runners on.

Haren had no complaints about the umpiring.

"I thought Mark did a fine job back there," Haren said. "He was consistent back there. I didn't think he was tight, didn't think he had a big zone."

La Russa also was shown on TV having a heated exchange with pitcher Chris Carpenter, shortly after the pitcher was taken out after seven innings for a pinch hitter. Carpenter might have been upset at calls, too, because the manager insisted he and his ace had no problems.

"Carp and I? No," La Russa said. "He and I were not disagreeing."

Carpenter had a large welt on his right forearm, a day after being struck by a liner to open the game. At this point, Carpenter is on track to make his next turn on Saturday.