ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon was ejected from Game 2 of the AL division series for arguing a checked swing by Texas' Michael Young.
Maddon was thrown out by plate umpire Jim Wolf in the fifth inning Thursday after Young hit a three-run homer to give the Rangers a 5-0 lead.
One pitch earlier, Young tried to stop his swing on a 2-2 pitch. Wolf appealed to first base umpire Jerry Meals, who ruled that Young held up in time. Rays players were incensed on the bench, and replays showed that Young probably went too far.
After the home run, Maddon left the dugout to talk with reliever Chad Qualls. The manager yelled at Meals from the mound, then argued with Wolf when the umpire arrived at the huddle and was tossed.
"That's just the way baseball is. It's a game of inches, a game of opportunity," Qualls said. "It hasn't been going our way right now. Obviously, it's no excuse for the pitch that followed the check-swing."
It was the 16th time a manager was ejected from a postseason game and the first since Tony La Russa was thrown out of St. Louis' 2-1 loss at Houston in Game 4 of the NL championship series on Oct. 16, 2005, according to research by STATS LLC.
Texas won 6-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
Maddon also disputed a crucial call early in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Rangers. Plate umpire Tim Welke said a pitch hit Carlos Pena's bat with the bases loaded, ruling it a foul tip. Maddon unsuccessfully argued that Pena was hit by the pitch.
Tampa Bay failed to score when Pena and Rocco Baldelli struck out.
"Those guys are human as much as we are," Rays starter James Shields said. "Obviously, this is a frustrating time. We were losing 2-0 at the time and I think that was a crucial at-bat. ... I felt he went, and I think if they go back they might say the same thing. But when it's going game speed, sometimes the eye is not as fast as the hand."
Welke, the umpire crew chief, said it was a judgment call by Meals.
"He felt it was close, but he felt he didn't go, and that's what he said," Welke said.
Young said the pitch was a slider that broke out of the strike zone "at the last minute."
"I checked. If he had rung me up, I would have walked back to the dugout and focused on defense like I usually do," he said. "I got the call in my favor and just tried to lock in on the strike zone at that point."