Upton's miserable series ends with ejection

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Justin Upton argues with umpire Rob Drake after being called out on strikes and ejected during the seventh inning.

Houston – Justin Upton had a forgettable series in Houston.

The Tigers’ left fielder and No. 2 hitter was 1-for-13 with six strikeouts, stranding four runners in scoring position. He put up a mild protest of a called third strike in his final at-bat Saturday night, but his frustration boiled over in his last at-bat Sunday.

Upton flung his bat and had a few choice words for home plate umpire Rob Drake after he was called out in the seventh inning and was promptly ejected. Upton, who said afterward he thought the pitch was high, made sure he got his money’s worth.

He barked at Drake for several seconds until manager Brad Ausmus got between them.

“From my angle it looked like the ball was up,” Ausmus said. “I understand his frustration. It was a close game and he was the go-ahead run.”

‘Sloppy’ Tigers dig hole vs. Astros, can’t get out

His final at-bat Saturday night was strange.

With runners on first and third, Upton took a pitch high and tight from Will Harris. Home plate umpire Sam Holbrook initially ruled it a ball. But catcher Jason Castro immediately turned to Holbrook and said the ball hit off Upton’s bat.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch started to come out of the dugout but Upton waived him back. He owned up, telling Holbrook that it did indeed hit his bat.

So, strike one.

But his honesty went unrewarded. Upton was called out on a close pitch for strike three.

Around the horn

Right-hander Alex Wilson made his 2016 debut Sunday, getting four straight outs in relief of Alex Sanchez.

… Center fielder Cameron Maybin, in his rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo, was removed from the game in Louisville Sunday. He was hit with a pitch. The broadcasters on site said it looked like it hit him in the wrist – the same wrist that was fractured early in spring training. The Tigers were still waiting for an official report.

… J.D. Martinez's second home run of the season came off his former roommate at Nova Southeastern University, Mike Fiers.

Twitter @cmccosky