After what had already been an emotionally charged series between these teams, Orioles starter Kevin Gausman was ejected at Fenway Park early Wednesday after he hit Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts with an off-speed pitch to open the bottom of the second inning.
The 77 mph curveball hit Bogaerts in the hip, prompting plate umpire Sam Holbrook to toss the pitcher immediately. As soon as Holbrook's arm went into the air, Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph jumped out of his crouch and got in Holbrook's face, vociferously arguing with the umpire about the quick-triggered ejection. Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado was also among those yelling in Holbrook's direction as manager Buck Showalter jogged out to confront the umpire.
After an eight-minute delay, lefty Richard Bleier replaced Gausman.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was later tossed, too, soon after being upset by a called strike. On Monday night, the All-Star was the target of racial slurs at Fenway Park, prompting apologies from the Red Sox, the mayor of Boston and the governor of Massachusetts.
Jones was angered over a called second strike, then was ejected after he struck out swinging. He flipped his bat and helmet toward Holbrook as he walked away.
After the game, Holbrook said the tension surrounding the teams played a role in his decision to eject Gausman.
"Just given the situation and the tension between the two clubs and all the stuff that's gone on over the past few weeks, we're all on high alert with anything," Holbrook said. "I know that the ball was a curveball, but it hit him square in the back, and just making a split decision at that point right there. There needs to be an end to this stuff, and I felt like the ejection was the right thing to do at the time, and that's what we did. Thankfully we didn't have any more problems for the rest of the game."
Gausman said it was "pretty bush league'' that he was tossed, especially because Red Sox starter Chris Sale was merely warned after throwing a pitch behind Manny Machado the night before.
"He did it on purpose, and everybody knew it,'' Gausman said. "For him to get away with it, and I hit a guy with a curveball and they throw me out of the game, that's pretty ridiculous.''
Jones had no comment afterward.
The Red Sox won the game 4-2.