Kawasaki ejected for arguing call at first base

Kawasaki ejected for arguing call at first base

Kawasaki ejected for arguing call at first base

BOSTON -- Blue Jays infielder Munenori Kawasaki is almost always the happiest guy in the room, but there was a rare display of anger during Saturday night's 4-2 victory over the Red Sox.

Kawasaki was ejected during the eighth inning for arguing a call with first-base umpire Eric Cooper. It was the first time this season that the fun-loving Kawasaki ever showed any type of frustration and it caught a lot of his teammates off-guard.

"I asked him if it was the first time getting kicked out and he said, 'yeah,'" Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle said. "He obviously got caught up in the moment and he thought he was safe. Just kind of reacting, I don't think he meant to, but reaction I guess, you can't really throw your helmet like that and expect to stay in the game."

The play in question happened when Kawasaki hit a ground ball up the middle that was deflected by right-hander Ryan Dempster. Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia then altered course and fielded the ball before making a short throw to first baseman Will Middlebrooks.

The 32-year-old Kawasaki was then called out on a close play at first by Cooper. Kawasaki immediately reacted in protest by slamming his helmet into the ground. Replays showed that he had a case and appeared safe on the play.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons also ran onto the field to protest, but remained in the game after a brief dispute with Cooper. At the time there was a lot of anger, but after the game, Gibbons couldn't help but laugh at how the whole thing unfolded.

"I thought he was safe, and I guarantee [Kawasaki] thought he was safe or he wouldn't have done that," Gibbons said. "I didn't expect to see that out of him, but good for him.

"Those are tough calls, bang-bang ... If he's going to react like that he's probably got pretty good beef."

The dispute marked the second of the night for the Blue Jays with the umpiring crew at Fenway Park. In the sixth inning, Boston's Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch from Buehrle, but catcher J.P. Arencibia began arguing with Gonzalez that the Red Sox outfielder stepped into the pitch.

Gibbons also came out to argue and had an animated conversation with Gonzalez. Gibbons appeared close to being tossed during the lengthy argument, but remained in the game. According to MLB.com's GameDay, the pitch from Buehrle was in the strike zone, but the call was not overturned.

The ruling on the field proved costly for the Blue Jays as the Red Sox went on to score a run in the inning on a single by Jonny Gomes. Buehrle later escaped the jam by inducing a ground-ball double play which put the veteran starter over the 200-inning plateau for the 13th consecutive season.

"I felt like it was close, he's on the dish anyways so whenever he got hit, I thought J.P. had a good argument," Buehrle said. "I said, 'hey you have to watch this guy, he is on the dish.' I didn't see the replay so I don't know for sure, but at the time I thought he was pretty good over the dish."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.