7/23/2014 12:35 A.M. ET
Wilson, Hurdle ejected after lefty hits LA's Turner
Bucs pitcher, skipper, Dodgers manager Mattingly surprised warning wasn't given
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Justin Wilson admitted he expected a reaction from the home-plate umpire after his second pitch of the seventh inning had bounced off Justin Turner's left elbow.
Only, the Pittsburgh left-hander anticipated a warning from Toby Basner -- not an ejection.
"I was more surprised that there wasn't a warning given," said Wilson, whose first pitch to Turner was also inside.
He was not alone. Even Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly considered the ejection unwarranted, implying Basner had fanned on baseball's timeless retribution process.
Wilson's pitch on Turner had followed soon after Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen had been drilled.
"We all understood what happened," said Mattingly. "The only guy that didn't was the plate umpire. He could have given him a warning."
"But it's the umpire's decision," Wilson said, "and you can't fight it once it's made."
Bucs manager Clint Hurdle tried. The only place it got him was into his office, prematurely, drawing his own ejection from crew chief Jeff Nelson for vociferously protesting Basner's quick thumb.
Even more than an hour later, following the Pirates' 12-7 victory, Hurdle was still steamed by the events. He discussed them with outward calm, yet clearly was not pleased that the Dodgers got in a free shot on McCutchen. The Pirates skipper was not arguing that McCutchen had been hit intentionally -- only that his circumstances were more conducive toward a judgment of intent.
"The umpire's job is to judge intent. There's a mound visit with McCutchen at the plate," said Hurdle, setting the stage for Jamey Wright's pitch with two on and two outs in the sixth, "and a ball's thrown upper body, hits him on the back of the shoulder, and there was no intent judged there.
"Wilson's trying to pitch hard in. He always pitches hard in. The judgment was that was intentional. They didn't want to [deal with a warning], just threw him out."
Wilson had just entered the game, taking over for starter Vance Worley with the Bucs ahead, 8-4. Jared Hughes replaced Wilson, and promptly surrendered a two-run homer to the first batter he faced, lefty-hitting Adrian Gonzalez. Hughes then retired the next three men, keeping intact the Bucs' usual end-game relief order.
"Yeah, absolutely [that was big], to get through that inning and we still had the lead," Wilson said. "The team won the game, and that's the biggest thing we're trying to do here."
The ejection was the fourth of the season for Hurdle, who last year tied for the Major League lead in that department with six.
As angered as Hurdle was in the top of the seventh, the 30,629 fans in PNC Park sounded equally irate in the bottom of the inning when Wright plunked another Pirates player, Russell Martin, without any consequence. The game also proceeded without any further incidents, other than the nonstop booing from the Pirates faithful.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.