BOSTON - Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, angered by a blown call by umpire Bill Welke that led to three Red Sox runs in the second inning, exploded to the media after his team's 7-4 loss to Boston Monday.
"There shouldn't have been a second-inning rally," Leyland said hours after he and third base coach Gene Lamont were ejected following the blown call. "I mean, there should not have been a second-inning rally. There's three outs. I've been in the game a long time; when a catcher catches the ball and it's strike three you call the guy out. It's that simple, isn't it?"
Not on this day.
Mike Aviles fouled an 0-2 pitch into the glove of catcher Gerald Laird, who maintained he caught the ball before it hit the dirt, which he did. Plate umpire Jeff Nelson said it hit the dirt and then checked with Welke, positioned behind first base. Welke also ruled the ball was tipped and hit the ground, which was wrong.
After the game, the umpires admitted they made a mistake, Welke saying, "What looks crystal clear [on video] didn't look crystal clear from the first base line."
But that was after Leyland, probably not in a great mood, anyway, with his team 23-25, went off in the manager's office.
"You guys need to write something and hold people accountable," he said. "We're all accountable in this business; all of us are accountable. When I say all of us, I mean everybody that's involved in the game needs to be held accountable. That's exactly what needs to be done. There should not have been a rally in that inning.
"Now anybody that saw that, have the nerve to write what you saw and say it, because I'm not going to sit here and rip umpires. But you saw what you saw, clearly saw what you saw, I just saw it for the 10th time. Clearly saw what you saw; write it and say something once and a while. Have the nerve to say something once and a while. Have the nerve to say something."
Asked what explanation he got from the umpires, Leyland said, "He said the ball hit the ground.
"I'm sorry. I'm the most patient man in the world with umpires; protect them more than anybody. And I understand there's the human element involved in the game. But you're 120 feet away? I mean, you gotta be 110 percent sure. You can't be guessing at that call. That's that simple. I mean, come on."
Another question, about HOW people can be held accountable, and Leyland went off, saying, "I can't answer that. I'm not the commissioner. That's you guys. You guys know how to write, I know how to manage.
"Was that a ridiculous call? Then write it that it was a [expletive] ridiculous call. Write that it was a [expletive] ridiculous call; not just a bad call, a maybe call, a [expletive] ridiculous call. Write the [expletive] thing. That's all. I protect them more than anybody; I'm not mad at the [expletive] umpires, but [expletive] it's a ridiculous [expletive] call, you saw it, you think it's a ridiculous call, write it, [expletive] I don't have to say it. I'm not a [expletive] writer, I'm a [expletive] manager."
Leyland was also angered about four umpires missing a potential balk against Cleveland's Justin Masterson last Thursday.
"When I have an incident, in a short period of time, where four umpires don't see anything that was flagrant, and now today one seen one from 120 feet away that's not even close to being accurate, that has a tendency to piss you off after a while. That's just the way it is. I'm sorry."
In that inning, Aviles (two hits, two RBIs) was left alive and then singled in a run, Daniel Nava doubled him home and then scored when Dustin Pedroia slammed one off first baseman Prince Fielder's glove or arm.
When the Tigers did get the third out, Lamont was tossed by third base umpire and crew chief Tim Tschida, and Leyland came out for the second time. When he went back to the dugout, he continued yelling across the field at Welke, who gave the manager his third ejection of the season and did it from long distance before Leyland came out again.
The win brought Boston to the .500 mark for the sixth time this season, but the Sox have never gone over that plateau. They face Detroit ace Justin Verlander (5-2, 2.15 ERA) in their latest bid Tuesday night.
Lefty Felix Doubront worked six innings for his fifth win Monday, while Doug Fister remained winless (0-3) for the Tigers.
Asked if this was his best outing of the season, Doubront (5-2) said, "Pretty much. In the past I was throwing a couple good games but I was feeling real good."
The loss ended Detroit's three-game winning streak.
Jarrod Saltamacchia, who won Saturday's game with a pinch-hit two-run homer, homered for Boston (No. 9) while the Delmon Young, Laird and Jhonny Peralta connected for homers for Detroit. Peralta got his in the ninth off Alfredo Aceves.
Pedroia left the game after five innings with a jammed right thumb and isn't likely to play Tuesday night.
Ryan Sweeney wasn activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list before the game, had three hits for the Red Sox.
NOTES: Boston pitchers struck out 12. ... Tigers rookie Quinton Berry singled in the sixth and has hit safely in his first six major league games, the first Tiger to do that since 1918. ... Former Boston right fielder Trot Nixon was honored before the game as part of the club's "Memorable Moments Month." His walk-off homer in Game 3 of the 2003 Division Series allowed the Sox to stave off elimination before they went on to win that series. ... Boston optioned Che-Hsuan Lin to Pawtucket to make room for Sweeney. ... Daniel Bard (4-5, 4.69 ERA) faces Verlander in Game 2 of the four-game series Tuesday night. ... The Red Sox, now 24-24, were 10-10, 11-11, 21-21, 22-22 and 23-23. ... Detroit is in the final days of a stretch of 19 of 24 games on the road.