Published May 06, 2011
Francona's outburst after Tim Wakefield was called for a balk in the second inning got him a quick trip to the clubhouse, where he watched his slumping club lose 9-2 to the Minnesota Twins. He could be looking at a suspension.
"I got thrown out because I came out. And since I was already thrown out I figured I could get an explanation," Francona said.
Francona was ejected for storming out to argue the call, which he proceeded to do for several minutes after plate umpire Angel Hernandez tossed him. Crew chief Joe West kept Francona away from Hernandez and was bumped a few times while Francona fumed about the decision, which cost the Red Sox a run and the third out of the inning.
Francona was more critical of West than Hernandez after the game.
"That was me and Angel. Joe didn't have anything to do with it. I didn't really appreciate what he did," Francona said. "He was grabbing me. I didn't appreciate that. I thought it was wrong. I thought he was out of line."
Francona threw his gum to the infield turf, getting a boisterous cheer from the Fenway Park fans who didn't know they were in for another long night just a day after Boston lost 11-0 to the Los Angeles Angels.
Trevor Plouffe homered in the first inning and Scott Baker pitched eight strong innings for the Twins, who capitalized on several Boston blunders.
Minnesota scored twice on balks and took advantage of a pair of errors by the Red Sox, who have allowed 21 runs in their last two games. Baker (2-2) allowed seven hits, struck out eight and walked one for the Twins, who have won three straight for just the second time this season.
J.D. Drew homered in the second and Adrian Gonzalez went deep in the fourth, but that was all the offense for Boston, which has lost three straight. The homers and Francona's furor were about the only highlights for the home fans.
Wakefield (0-1) allowed eight runs, six earned, and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings.
"I had a little trouble today," Wakefield said. "Obviously I walked four guys and couldn't find the strike zone and when I did, one ball was hit out of the park and the other one was a double."
Minnesota got a little help from the Red Sox, who fell to 3-5 on an 11-game homestand.
The Twins scored three in the second after loading the bases with no outs. Wakefield nearly got out of it by getting Drew Butera to fly out and striking out Alexi Casilla, but Denard Span got a grounder past first baseman Gonzalez and two runs scored.
Ben Revere, who reached on a single, then came in from third when Wakefield was called for a balk while trying to pick off Span. Boston got Span in a rundown and tagged him, but the out was waved off when Hernandez made the balk call.
Francona was ejected moments after leaving the dugout. He continued to argue for several minutes after Hernandez tossed him and his arms tangled a few times with West.
Gonzalez's long drive in the fourth struck one of the giant signs above the seats on the Green Monster and cut Minnesota's lead to 4-2. But Boston unraveled again defensively in the fifth.
Danny Valencia doubled to left with the bases loaded, driving in two more runs for the Twins. Wakefield was replaced by Alfredo Aceves, who inherited runners on second and third. Aceves struck out Revere and got Butera to hit a grounder to shortstop Jed Lowrie, who misplayed the ball. The error allowed two more runs and the Twins led 8-2.
The Twins got another run in the sixth on two more mistakes by the Red Sox. Plouffe, who reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and went to third when Lowrie missed the throw from home. Plouffe then scored when Aceves was called for a balk before he could get off the next pitch.
"Yeah, it was about as much of a balk as you're going to," Francona said. "I wanted to run back out and tell him he got it right."
NOTES: Baker struck out leadoff batter Jacoby Ellsbury on his first three pitches. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said LHP Francisco Liriano's scheduled start Monday will depend on how he feels Saturday. Liriano was sick Friday and stayed at the team's hotel. ... Francona said before the game he might go to the Heat-Celtics playoff game after the Twins and Red Sox play Saturday afternoon — but don't look for him courtside. "My seats are in hiding position," he said. "They're up where you can get in and out and you're not bringing notice to yourself."