It was the first career ejection for Ventura, who is in his first year as White Sox manager, and Quintana, who was making his second Major League start.
Through an interpreter, Quintana said he was throwing a fastball to Zobrist, then saw that catcher A.J. Pierzynski signaled for a changeup. Rather than cross over his catcher, Quintana said, he continued to throw it, but the ball slipped out and went well behind Zobrist. He was immediately ejected by home-plate umpire Mark Wegner.
"I definitely was surprised by it," Quintana said. "I wasn't expecting it, especially as I was trying to cross my catcher."
Rays right-hander Alex Cobb had hit Pierzynski in the back in the third inning, but no warning had been issued. Ventura came out to argue Quintana's ejection, and he was tossed as well.
"I've never seen anything like it. I don't know how to explain it," Ventura said. "I was shocked. Usually if the guy feels it's intent, he gives the warning, then it goes from there. It just shocked me. ... He felt there was intent, so that's what he went with. But I didn't agree."
In Tuesday night's 7-2 White Sox win, Pierzynski made a late slide into second base on a force out in the second inning and spiked Zobrist on the play. The two exchanged words, but there was no retaliation the rest of the game.
Pierzynski, for his part, said he only knew that Wegner thought Quintana was throwing at Zobrist. When asked about Quintana saying he got the wrong signal, Pierzynski replied that it "looked like it just got away." He said he set up away, but Quintana simply "threw it in."
Quintana had been pitching well on Wednesday, allowing only one run on one hit -- a solo homer by Luke Scott -- while striking out two in 3 2/3 innings. Right-hander Nate Jones came on in relief of Quintana.
"It was a shame, because we would've liked to see Jose go at least five innings and try to get a win," Pierzynski said.