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Umpiring controversy in the middle of Tampa Bay Rays' 3-2 loss to Toronto Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG — There was a lot of shouting at umpiring chief Joe West and his crew in the Rays' 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.

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Before the game ended, both managers were ejected along with Rays centerfielder B.J. Upton after a ninth-inning strikeout, his fourth of the game and third time looking, an outburst he said will likely result in a fine and a suspension.

But long after the yelling and hollering had ended, Rays manager Joe Maddon said one play still screams for Major League Baseball to adopt instant replay, and West acknowledged miscommunication by the umpires.

With the Rays trailing 3-1 and runners on first and second and one out in the seventh, Sam Fuld bounced to third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who stepped on the bag at third to force Casey Kotchman but fired wildly to first. Fuld was called safe by West, who indicated that first baseman Adam Lind had missed the tag.

But West conferred with second-base umpire Angel Hernandez, and Fuld was called out to end the inning.

"That's the second time that call has happened to us this year, and I really have a hard time with that call being changed from that distance," Maddon said. "If there's any play that screams for instant replay, it's that one.

"You've got first and third, you've got (Ben) Zobrist coming up, not a bad moment for us. I didn't like it. It's such an awkward play to have that happen twice in the same season."

After the game, West agreed with Maddon that while his crew was right to confer, there was a miscommunication between umpires and Fuld should've been called safe.

While Hernandez told West that Fuld had been tagged, he believed the outfielder was already on first when the tag occurred. Fuld also said he was tagged after he touched first.

"All I asked Angel was did he tag him, and Angel told me I thought you had him safe for being on the bag," West said after the game. "I didn't heed that warning. I made a judgment based on what I had at first base. So it appears that we may have erred, but we did everything protocol right by the book."

The Rays, who were stymied by Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow again, rallied for a run on Fuld's RBI single in the ninth and had runners on the corners when Zobrist bounced out to first to end the game.

Jays manager John Farrell was ejected in the seventh inning by home-plate umpire Chad Fair­child for arguing balls and strikes. Upton threw a tirade after being called out on strikes in the ninth, tossing his helmet and both batting gloves.

On April 10, Maddon's most dramatic of his now 18 ejections occurred in a game against the White Sox in Chicago.

Dan Johnson hit a grounder that bounced off Sox first baseman Paul Konerko. Second baseman Gordon Beckham recovered it and threw to pitcher Gavin Floyd, who bobbled the ball. First-base umpire Doug Eddings called Johnson safe, but the play was overturned after umpires convened.

"I'm anti-replay. I've been," Maddon said. "But I'm getting more on board with it now, not because it's been against us."

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Umpiring controversy in the middle of Tampa Bay Rays' 3-2 loss to Toronto Blue Jays 05/05/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 5, 2011 5:00pm]

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