Irate David Ortiz ejected after ninth-inning strikeout vs. Yankees

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

An irate David Ortiz had to be held back by manager John Farrell and other members of the Boston Red Sox after charging out of the dugout and arguing a called third strike with the bases loaded in the ninth inning Friday night in the Bronx.

Down 3-2, the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out against New York Yankees closer Andrew Miller.

When plate umpire Ron Kulpa called a 3-and-1 pitch for a questionable strike, Ortiz turned around and voiced his displeasure, drawing Farrell out of the dugout. The manager was ejected.

On-deck hitter Hanley Ramirez tried to calm down Ortiz, who got back in the box and then took a called third strike.

Ortiz walked back to the dugout chirping, slammed down his equipment and then was ejected, prompting him to charge out in protest of Kulpa as Farrell and teammates tried to intervene.

"Hey look, have you seen Miller's numbers?" Ortiz asked after the game, referencing the star closer. "He don't need no help. That's all I can tell you.

"Just because an umpire has a wide zone I don't have to get out of my game. I'm facing one of the best pitchers in the game, so you either keep it fair or you're going to look really bad. And he looked pretty bad on those pitches -- I'm telling you right now. And the bad thing about it is that everyone is watching. The game is on the line. We need to win this game. We're not playing the game to just give it away. We're playing well, we got a good rhythm. And now with the game on the line in that situation, facing one of best pitchers in game, I probably can understand missing one time, but not two. Both of those pitchers were bad, though."

Ramirez struck out swinging to end the game, as the Yankees claimed the series opener3-2.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Kulpa had 31 missed calls Friday night, tied for the seventh most in a game this season, and the called third strike on Ortiz was 5 inches below the strike zone.

"The 3-1 pitch, I had it coming through the zone," Kulpa said. "That's why I called it a strike. (Catcher Brian) McCanndidn't didn't help me out. He took the ball down a little bit. But the pitch still came through the zone. And the 3-2 pitch, I had it in the zone right down the middle."

This wasn't Kulpa's first heated run-in with a Red Sox slugger.

In a July 2000 game between Boston and the New York Mets, Kulpa was infamously head-butted by Carl Everett after Kulpa twice warned him about keeping his back foot inside the batter's box. Everett was ejected and eventually suspended 10 games.

Farrell, meanwhile, was asked if he was disappointed by the calls.

"Yeah, I'd say," the manager said. "I think anybody who watched the ninth inning, how it unfolded, probably knows the story of that inning. We created another golden opportunity for us as we did in the sixth, men in scoring position in the seventh, again in the eight, and then a big opportunity in the ninth. And like I said, I think anybody that was watching the game closely understood what the story of this one was.

"I disagreed with a couple of calls that were made. Obviously an argument ensued, and we had differing opinions."

Asked if Ortiz should have swung at the last pitch, Farrell said: "No. He'd need a hockey stick for the 3-2 pitch."

Ortiz, who will retire at season's end, hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Michael Pineda. He has hit 452 of his 510 home runs for Boston, tied with Carl Yastrzemski for second among Red Sox behind Ted Williams (521). Ortiz has hit 50 homers against the Yankees.

But his latest clash against the Yankees will be remembered not for him circling the bases, but for storming out of a dugout to protest Kulpa's calls.

"Hey look, I don't complain to an umpire in a long time," he said. "I've been able to hold ground even when they make a call on pitches that are balls. I've been able to through the years and hold ground because you don't want to have that back and forth with umpires. They're human and they're going to make mistakes. But the game on the line, in that situation, Yankees and Red Sox, adrenaline was kicking in, I'm locked in, I'm not thinking of nothing else, but I'm not feeling like getting screwed up, feel like it happens."

Information from contributor Roger Rubin and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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