BOSTON On the calmest of days, Dustin Pedroia is usually the most fired-up player in the Red Sox dugout. It doesnt take much to light his fuse.
So, with the Sox trailing the Rangers by two runs in the eighth inning, when he was called out by first base umpire Paul Nauert for what Nauert perceived as a swing on an outside curveball for the second out of the inning, Pedroia vociferously let Nauert know his displeasure. All the way back to the dugout he demonstrated his checked swing. In the dugout. Especially after a double off the wall by Adrian Gonzalez, the next batter, surely would have scored Pedroia. And until the side was retired.
Going back to second base for the ninth, though, Pedroia took a slow walk, being sure to ignore Nauert on the way.
But after David Murphy was hit by a Craig Breslow pitch leading off the ninth, Pedroia unloaded on Nauert. Very quickly, the Sox second baseman was tossed from the game. It was the second time in his career hes been ejected and first since Aug. 19, 2008, in Baltimore.
Manager Bobby Valentine, who ran out to support his second baseman, argued with Nauert, as chants of Bob-bee, Bob-bee filled Fenway Park. The chants were a first this season for Valentine, in home game No. 62.
Pedroia had already left Fenway by the time reporters were allowed into Fenway Park. But the Sox perspective on the situation was clear.
It was a bad call, said Jon Lester, who took the loss. Pedey obviously is very emotional and plays this game with a lot of heart and for him to get that fired up, obviously he knew he was right. It was a bad call. I shouldnt say a turning point in the game but if he battles and gets in there, maybe its a different game.
Well, its a two-run ballgame, said Will Middlebrooks. Its a tough call. Is it hard to see? Yeah, sure. At the same time, I don't know. its just a tough situation. Its a tight ballgame. We needed everything to go our way.
It looked like he checked his swing from our vantage point, Valentine said. Then Adrian hits one off the wall, of course.
I was pretty angry, and supporting my guy. I said more to Nauert than I said other times and gotten thrown out. He wasnt going to throw me out. Unless I made a complete fool of myself or punched him or something. And I dont like staying out on the field that long with my pitcher on the mound.
Valentine thought the situation was over when the Sox took the field in the top of the ninth.
I was watching Pedroia, Valentine said. I wasnt expecting another play. He made an innocuous comment and got thrown out. Its not like he went out on the field yelling. He stayed totally away from him. I was watching him. Bres Craig Breslow throws that pitch and he makes some comment and gets thrown out. Whatever.