ST. LOUIS – The Pirates will let MLB know their side of the story – and their unhappiness with umpire Angel Campos – after tonight’s ejections of manager Clint Hurdle and catcher Rod Barajas.
With the Pirates trailing 5-1 in the second inning, RHP A.J. Burnett faced Carlos Beltran with two runners on and none out. An 0-2 pitch appeared to catch the bottom of the strike zone, but Campos called it a ball. That set off Barajas, who took a similar pitch for a called strike in the top of the inning. “If our guy throws the ball in the same spot. you expect a strike to be called,” Barajas said. “The pitch I got that I thought was down, he called a strike. The pitch that A.J. threw, I felt it was a strike and he called it a ball. It was a big spot in the game. We were trying to get back on track. To lose out on that (call), it makes it hard and frustrating for me.”
When Barajas griped out loud, Campos tossed him. Barajas yelled for a few more moments, then stomped to the dugout. Hurdle went out and also argued with Campos. He, too, was ejected. “I lost my cool,” Barajas admitted. “It doesn’t happen hardly ever with me. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve been thrown out of a game for that reason. It’s unfortunate. I don’t want to put the team in that situation. It’s not what anybody wanted.”
When play resumed, Beltran got ahead in the count, 3-2, then lined an RBI single to right. “I thought it was a strike,” Burnett said. “It could be a strike tomorrow, you never know. I had more things on my mind than that one pitch. I thought it was a good pitch, but I’ve got to move on.”
In the fourth inning, Jose Tabata was called out on a foul tip strikeout, even though it appeared he never made contact. At that point, Hurdle was watching on the clubhouse TV. “I saw what everyone else saw,” Hurdle said. “The ball missed his bat by five inches.”
Tuesday night, Campos was the first base umpire. In the first inning, he made a controversial call by ruling Garrett Jones dropped a throw from second baseman Neil Walker. Replays indicated Jones caught the ball and let it slip while he was transferring it out of his glove.
“We’ve had disagreements for two days out there,” Hurdle said. “We had some disagreements early (tonight) behind the plate. Rod was trying to protect his pitcher and making sure we got a fair shake. The conversation went to a place where it didn’t need to go. Angel disagreed with (Barajas’) conduct and I disagreed with Angel’s, and Rod and I got tot watch the rest of the game. We had a bad night. There were parts of the game that Angel struggled with as well. It happens. But we’ve got opportunities to form an opinion, we’ll tag some things and get them out. Everybody has a bad night every now and then.”