Detroit — Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was thrown out of Sunday’s 4-2 victory over the Tigers in the fifth inning by home plate umpire Adam Hamari. Manager Jeff Banister wound up being ejected, as well.
But the way Beltre explained it afterward, Hamari got the wrong guy.
“My teammate over there (pointing to Prince Fielder) was the one that said something, and he said ‘84,’ which is his number,” Beltre said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, it was me.’ I guess I was the ugly one and he threw me out.”
Neither team was enthralled with Hamari’s strike zone, but the Rangers beefed the loudest.
After Beltre was tossed, Banister came out and argued but wasn’t immediately tossed. It wasn’t until a few minutes later, when Banister had picked up the argument from the dugout with crew chief Ron Kulpa, that he was ejected.
“He was out there protecting his player, so I let him have his say and he went back to the dugout,” Kulpa said through a pool reporter. “When Beltre found out he had been ejected, he continued to yell at me about being ejected. Banister didn’t get him into the locker room, so at that point, Banister was ejected.”
So, Banister was ejected because Beltre lingered?
“For not helping me get him out of there, yes,” Kulpa said. “At that point, Beltre is just delaying the game by continuing the argument.”
It was the third career ejection for Beltre and he said all three were mistakes.
“We’re always wrong, the players,” Beltre said. “Umpires are always right. We can’t say a lot before we get in trouble…Prince said something to him, and he yells ‘me, 84.’ I don’t know if he confused 84 with 29. I don’t know.”
Armed and ready
J.D. Martinez figures he leads the American League with 14 outfield assists for one simple reason — baserunners continue to run on him.
Asked if he expects that to stop fairly soon, he said, “It’s up to them. I mean, I don’t think I have a great arm like (Yoenis) Cespedes or Gary Sheffield or any of those guys. But I have a good arm and it’s accurate.”
Martinez’s 14 outfield assists are the most by a Tiger since 2002, when Robert Fick had 21 and Bobby Higginson had 15.
“A little bit is opportunity,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “You have to have some balls that are between a single and a double and a runner has to try to stretch it.”
Ausmus said Martinez hasn’t yet attained enough status as a defensive outfielder to completely stop runners from trying to take a base against him.
“Unless you are a guy like Cespedes, they’re not going to shut it down,” he said. “You have to have a reputation before they start shutting it down. Maybe he is building that reputation.”
From the knees
James McCann isn’t nicknamed McCannon for nothing. He ended the eighth inning by throwing out speedy Ryan Strausborger at second base from his knees.
“Mac does a real good job of recognizing when he has to be a little bit quicker,” Ausmus said. “The pitcher had been slow to the plate, or the baserunner got a good jump — he recognizes that and stays on his knees.”
But Ausmus isn’t a proponent of catchers throwing from their knees.
“Throwing from your knees is a little bit overrated,” he said. “There’s only been a handful of guys that have done it. I can tell you that 75 percent of major league catchers can do it. They all have the arm strength to do it. The difficult part is being accurate when you do it.
“Today was a very accurate throw. It was an outstanding throw. I didn’t think he had a shot of throwing Strausborger out. Generally speaking, you don’t want to do it over and over, because you’re less accurate.”
McCann has now thrown out 19 of 47 base stealers.
Miguel Cabrera got two hits, both off Cole Hamels, to extend his hitting streak to eight games. He is 17 for 31 with seven doubles and a home run during the streak. He is 8 for 11 against Hamels in his career.