Jason Varitek(notes) hit two home runs, then was one of four people ejected by young umpire Todd Tichenor during separate arguments in the seventh inning of Boston’s 3-1 victory over Minnesota on Thursday.
The 32-year-old Tichenor, up from the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, gave the boot to both catchers and both managers during a wild seventh inning that ended with Red Sox starter Josh Beckett(notes) giving a dismissive wave toward home plate in disgust.
“Everybody handles things differently,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Tichenor. “It looked like he had his hands full today. Their guys were getting ejected, we’re getting (ejected). That’s probably not your goal of the game.”
Joe Crede(notes) hit a home run in his return from a three-game absence because of a bruised hand, but Beckett (5-2) was too much for the Twins. He allowed one run on three hits with four walks and eight strikeouts in seven innings.
Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) went 0 for 3 to snap a 22-game hitting streak. But Varitek hit solo homers off Anthony Swarzak(notes) (1-1) to lead off the fifth and seventh innings, the first first time the switch-hitter has hit two home runs in a game off right-handed pitchers since 2004, according to baseballreference.com.
The razzing really started after his second homer.
Dustin Pedroia(notes) lifted a sacrifice fly to right field and Jason Kubel(notes) fired a perfect strike to Mike Redmond(notes) at home plate as Jeff Bailey(notes) came barreling home. Redmond applied a sweep tag and replays showed that he appeared to hit Bailey on the arm just before Bailey’s hand touched the plate.
But Tichenor called Bailey safe, prompting an animated protest from Redmond. Tichenor tossed Redmond almost immediately after the catcher approached him.
Tichenor was unavailable for comment after the game, but crew chief Jerry Layne said there was no physical contact between the catcher and the umpire.
“Major League Baseball will review the report that Todd puts together,” Layne said. “I don’t know what was said. I just know it was very emotional at the moment. … The umpire did his job.”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire jumped out of the dugout to defend Redmond and was ejected himself.
“I just thought he had a quick gun there,” Gardenhire said. “He just pulled the trigger too quick, and I went out to defend and he threw me out too.”
“I couldn’t believe he threw me out, honestly,” Redmond said. “I don’t go out there, ever, to get thrown out. Especially knowing that Joe’s DHing. I can’t get thrown out. I really can’t get thrown out. I didn’t swear at him. I didn’t do anything. He just had a short fuse I guess.”
Things escalated in the bottom of the inning when Beckett threw a pitch that Varitek tried to frame for strike three on Brendan Harris(notes). When he didn’t get the call—replays showed that it appeared to be outside—Beckett seethed. Varitek stood up to intervene, turned around and got in Tichenor’s face.
Ejection No. 3.
“I just said it was uncharacteristic of him,” said Beckett, giving the clean version. “It was all caused by me.”
Then it was Francona’s turn to defend his player.
“He handled it the way I like to see a person handle it,” Layne said of Tichenor. “He didn’t let the game get out of control by not taking charge. He didn’t throw anybody out that didn’t deserve to be thrown out. He did his job. The managers did their jobs. Varitek stuck up for his pitcher. That’s baseball.”
Swarzak gave up three runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts in six innings of his second big league start. After pitching seven scoreless in a win over Milwaukee in his debut last week, Swarzak’s scoreless innings streak reached 11 before Varitek got to him in the fifth inning on Thursday.
Varitek, who declined comment, entered the game hitting .222 with three homers from the left side of the plate this season.
Red Sox OF Jason Bay(notes) was given his first day off of the season. … Gardenhire gave SS Nick Punto(notes) the day off to rest a sore groin that has been nagging him for the last week. … Red Sox OF Mark Kotsay(notes) will continue his rehab from back surgery by playing three of four games for Triple-A Pawtucket starting on Friday. … Michael Cuddyer(notes) hit for the pitcher’s spot in the seventh and Brian Buscher(notes) was the pinch-hitter in the ninth.