BOSTON -- There was an odd moment in the Red Sox's 7-6 extra-inning loss to the Orioles on Sunday.
With one out in the seventh inning, Baltimore righty Ryan Webb on the mound, Jackie Bradley Jr. on first base, and Xander Bogaerts at the plate, Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield inexplicably walked into the middle of the diamond and got in a heated argument with second base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.
When he was done, Butterfield took off for the Red Sox dugout. The announcement was made moments later that he had been ejected.
It was a perplexing moment on multiple fronts. Not only is it rare to see a third base coach ejected, but to see him make his way onto the field of play in the middle of an at-bat made it all the stranger.
Sox manager John Farrell tried to shed light on what transpired.
"Well there was an argument, obviously," Farrell started. "From Butter’s vantage point on the open side of Webb, when he came set [Butterfield] felt like there were a number of pitches in which he didn’t come to a complete stop. [He] changed direction and made the delivery or the pitch. [Butterfield] felt like he had balked a couple of times, and he was trying to get the attention of Hunter Wendelstedt at the time. That’s where that originated.”
Whether or not Butterfield's argument paid dividends with the umpire mattered little. Perhaps it made Webb think more about his delivery because after Butterfield's ejection, the pitcher fell apart.
Webb allowed three consecutive singles and two runs -- one inherited runner scored and one run was charged to him. In all, the Red Sox scored five runs in the seventh and came back to tie the game, 6-6.
"I think the spark was Butter," said Bradley Jr. with a smile. "The spark was definitely Butter."
Butterfield is the only third base coach to be ejected in the majors this season, and has been ejected a whopping three times. He was ejected twice previously in games against the Rays. On May 1 he was given the heave for arguing a call at home, and on May 30 he was run while serving as manager when pitcher Brandon Workman threw at Evan Longoria.