Manager Davey Johnson had not been ejected since he became the Nationals’ manager, and did not plan on it when he charged out of the dugout Sunday afternoon in the sixth inning. He did not swear once, he said, as he argued a call. But when he left the field, crew chief Joe West tossed him. How did that happen?
“That’s a good question,” Johnson said.
Johnson was still miffed after the Nationals’ 5-4, 14-inning loss to the Reds, about both his ejection, the ejection of bench coach Pat Corrales and the performance of the umpiring crew in general.
“It was somewhat inconsistent,” Johnson said.
The Nationals felt home plate umpire Sam Holbrook had squeezed Jordan Zimmermann as he walked Fred Lewis with the bases loaded in the fifth inning, for one example. In the sixth, Ian Desmond screamed at Holbrook after he stuck out looked on a curveball that replays showed to be outside.
“A long game like that, it wears on the players and the umpires,” Desmond said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Sam back there. It was one of those heat-of-the-moment things. That’s very out of character, for me to yell at the umpire. At the time, I care. I was just a little intense.”
The frustration with Holbrook bubbled over in the seventh inning. Michael Morse leaned back on an inside pitch from Johnny Cueto, then dropped his bat and jogged to first, thinking he had been hit. Holbrook called him back to the plate.
Johnson ran out of he dugout and screamed in Holbrook’s face, motioning for him to ask other umpires if Morse had been hit.
“I heard the ball hit something before it hit the catcher’s mitt,” Johnson said. “It looked like a forearm or his pad. I could hear it really plainly from the dugout. I asked him to get help. They got help and it didn’t go my way.”
As Johnson walked off the field, the notoriously impetuous West threw Johnson out of the game. Johnson insisted he had not even spoken to West.
“Nothing,” Johnson said. “I didn’t cuss at anybody. Mr. West thought to get rid of me. That’s part of the game, I guess.”
For the time being, Corrales took over the Nationals. His time as acting manager lasted only until the ninth, when he disagreed with a strike called on a Nationals hitter. When Holbrook threw him out, Corrales was stunned.
“I told him, ‘That ball was high,’ and that was it,” Corrales said. “I don’t cuss at him or anything.”
The Reds had their issues with the crew. Second base umpire Chad Fairchild threw Reds Manager Dusty Brown out of the game in the 12th inning. Brown argued that Drew Stubbs’s slide had avoided Desmond’s tag after catcher Jesus Flores threw him out trying to steal second base.