Trailing 2-0 in the third inning with the bases loaded and no one out, Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate trying to deliver a hit that would tie the game or give the Tigers a lead against the Philadelphia Phillies. The first pitch (which looked outside) was a called strike by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild and Cabrera questioned the call. The second pitch was also called a strike. Cabrera looked at Fairchild and muttered. Fairchild then ejected Cabrera in the middle of the at bat. Jim Leyland then came out and defended his superstar and was tossed as well.
Here is a look at the sequence of events: http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?content_id=29215893.
It looked as if Cabrera mouthed something along the lines of “That was horrible” to get ejected. After the ejection Rod Allen said the smartest thing I have ever heard him say, “Chad Fairchild, we did not come here to watch you today.”
Rod is exactly right. I have never seen a player, especially a superstar like Cabrera, ejected in the middle of an at bat for questioning balls and strikes. Cabrera did not do anything to show up Fairchild and if a player has earned a little bit of extra leeway, it is Cabrera. This is a night after David Ortiz was allowed to get away with lots of jawing and showing up umpire Tim Timmons the previous night until Ortiz destroyed the bullpen phone in the Baltimore Orioles’ visiting dugout.
This is not the first run in that the Tiger have had with Fairchild. He was the umpire in the game when the Tigers and Chicago White Sox had an altercation when Luke Putkonen threw behind White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Putkonen and Leyland were tossed from that game without warnings, but Ramirez, who made a motion to the mound, was not ejected.
Fairchild is the only umpire to eject Leyland this year which he has done twice. Fairchild has ejected eight people this season, including six in July and four since the All Star Game which he umpired.
Fireworks were then reignited in the 6th inning, but this time in favor of the Tigers. Jacob Diekman entered the game for the starter Jonathan Pettibone and started the inning by walking Andy Dirks. Diekman then could not record an out on back to back bunts by Alex Avila and Ramon Santiago. Don Kelly hit a fly ball that was dropped by the left fielder, Matt Tuiasosopo walked, Prince Fielder reached on an error by the first baseman, Victor Martinez walked, and Jhonny Peralta capped off the inning by hitting a grand slam. The Tigers scored 8 unearned runs on two hits, three errors and three walks sending 11 to the plate.
Rick Porcello started and got the win as he pitched 6 innings giving up 3 ER on 7 hits with 3 K’s and 2 BB’s. Drew Smyly pitched a clean 7th inning. Bruce Rondon, gave up one run on two hits in the 8th. Phil Coke then pitched a clean 9th to finish the game out.
The Tigers are now 59-45 and hold a 3 game lead over the Cleveland Indians who swept the Texas Rangers over the weekend as they start a three game series with the Washington Nationals Tuesday night.