Left-hander allows three runs in frame, has words with umpire about strike zone
By Carlos Collazo
ATLANTA -- Braves left-hander Alex Wood admitted he allowed his emotions to get the best of him before he was ejected during the decisive fifth inning of Sunday afternoon's 3-0 loss to the Pirates at Turner Field.
Wood was ejected after arguing balls and strikes with home-plate umpire Mark Carlson after the top of the fifth inning. He blamed the frustration that built as he attacked what he considered an inconsistent strike zone and also watched Gerrit Cole hit two of his teammates -- Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons -- with fastballs.
"I thought [Gerrit Cole] was getting some pitches throughout the game that we weren't," Wood said. "Especially when you're sitting down in the tunnel with the AC, watching it on the TV and when hitting myself.
"I go up there my first at-bat and [Cole] throws two that are below my knees, back to back, and [Carlson] rings me up on it. And then you throw two that are pretty close -- one closer than the other -- to Cole there that inning and [Carlson calls them balls]."
The pitches Wood is referring to came in the fifth inning, after Wood came low and inside to Cole with a 92 mph fastball -- his hardest pitch of the game to that point and what seemed to be a pitch with a message after Cole hit Freeman and Simmons. Wood proceeded to walk Cole with one out, which led to the Pirates' three-run inning.
That rally proved to be what sent Wood over the top in frustration, and led him to a back-and-forth with Carlson on his way to the dugout and shortly thereafter, an ejection.
"As I was walking away, I guess he decided that it was going to be good to throw me out of the game, which I didn't think was appropriate," Wood said. "I didn't try and show him up, didn't say anything to him during the inning, didn't even know I got tossed until I got up into the clubhouse."
Wood's ejection came so quickly that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez didn't know the situation until he saw Carlson signal.
"I don't know what was said. Obviously, if I thought it was a heated conversation I would have gone out there a little bit sooner," Gonzalez said. "I thought they were just talking. But no matter what, your starting pitcher can't get thrown out in a three-run game in the fifth inning.
"Woody can't get thrown out of that game. He's given up three runs, our bullpen is our bullpen, and he's got to keep his composure a little bit. He can't get thrown out of the game there."
Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.