Gerald Laird and Fredi Gonzalez were ejected by Angel Hernandez for arguing a strike three call Hernandez made in the third inning of the Atlanta Braves' 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday.
Laird blew a gasket on a strike three call that mirrored one Andrelton Simmons got in the first inning, both of which were obviously high and inside. It appeared that Hernandez had already baited Laird while the Braves were on defense, and Gonzalez was rung when he took up Laird's case.
“I may have went too far, but you only can take so much,” Laird said on ajc.com. “And after watching (Simmons’) first at-bat taken … It’s uncalled for. When the catcher throws it back to the pitcher on strike three, obviously he’s saying one thing: That it’s not even close. Us being catchers, we know what strikes are, and we throw it back to the pitcher if it’s not a strike. He threw it back to the pitcher and he rung him up. If you look at that, it just goes to show you what kind of night (Hernandez) had.”
It didn't help that the Phillies had already started roughing up Paul Maholm, who gave up two homers for the first time this year and gave up five runs (four earned) over six innings.
The Phillies took the lead in the first when Freddie Freeman airmailed a double play ball into left field, plating a run. They added two more on an Humberto Quintero home run that was reviewed and deemed to have cleared the right field wall without fan interference, much to the objection of Braves fans.
Ryan Howard crushed a solo homer in the third, and the final blow came in the sixth when Quintero doubled home Delmon Young, who would have been out on a strong throw from Dan Uggla had Brian McCann hung on to the ball.
Speaking of Uggla, he put the Braves on the board during a seventh-inning rally that chased Cliff Lee from the game. With Freeman and Chris Johnson on base, Uggla blasted a three-run homer. Four batters later, Simmons hit a sacrifice fly to bring the Braves within one, though they couldn't piece together a rally off the Phillies bullpen.
The four runs Lee surrendered matched the entirety of the damage he had incurred against the Braves in his last 52 innings against them, dating back to July 9, 2011.
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