Three Orioles ejected in wild seventh inning

Three Orioles ejected in wild seventh inning

BALTIMORE -- Orioles first baseman Ty Wigginton, pitching coach Rick Kranitz and interim manager Juan Samuel were all ejected Thursday night at separate points of an ugly seventh inning that ended in a 5-0 Twins win.

"I guess emotions were very high tonight," said Samuel, who stomped on his hat and flung it onto the mound like a Frisbee as he stormed off after being tossed. "And as a result, we saw what happened."

Wigginton went first, as he was ejected in the top of the inning by first-base umpire Gary Darling, who ruled that Wigginton missed a tag on J.J. Hardy, who slid headfirst to get back to the bag.

"You get the leadoff guy on and he goes first pitch and we get him hung out to dry," Wigginton said of Hardy, who turned and tried to head back to first base after catcher Craig Tatum threw down to second. "I felt he was out."

He was. Television replays showed Wigginton clearly tagging both of Hardy's outstretched hands before Wigginton threw his hat off and went on a tirade -- that included Samuel coming out to the field to restrain him -- after Darling gave him the boot.

"I thought I was [safe] until I saw the replay," Hardy said. "I just got done talking to [Wigginton] and it seemed like he was in a pretty good mood. I think maybe we were talking about the weather before that pitch and he said it's been really hot, and then the next thing I know, he's up in Darling's face."

Red-faced with rage, Wigginton flipped the ball in the stands on his way out and Samuel, who came out to keep the infielder from doing something "that would [the team] would not be proud of," walked back to the dugout. Samuel, who hadn't seen the replay when speaking to reporters post-game, said he didn't believe Wigginton made contact with Darling, but the umpire ruled otherwise.

"[Wigginton made contact] in the chest [and] stomach," said Darling, who admitted he botched the call. "[I] will send in my report to the league and they make the decision on anything."

The crowd of 20,108 issued a loud chorus of boos for several moments following the play and the tension continued to build at Camden Yards. One out later, after Drew Butera singled and Hardy came around to score, Kranitz started sarcastically clapping from the dugout, prompting home-plate umpire Bill Hohn to make him Orioles casualty No. 2.

"I shouldn't have done that. It wasn't the right thing to do, but you know, you get frustrated," Kranitz said of his actions, which got him his second ejection this season.

"I guess Bill Hohn took offense to [the clapping]"

When asked about the nonverbal cues that got Kranitz tossed, Hohn said his actions on the bench were "unprofessional and uncalled for."

Samuel didn't see it that way, and he stormed the field, beginning a sequence of events that included putting a beating on his baseball cap and giving Hohn an earful.

"Kranny did not say anything. I was trying to tell [Hohn], 'How can you blame Kranny when one of your guys blew the call?'," said Samuel, who became the third Oriole to retreat to the clubhouse after being tossed for arguing on Kranitz's behalf. "Kranny didn't deserve that. He didn't miss the call.

"We thought Wiggy tagged the guy -- not once, but twice. Gary, after watching the replay ,probably will admit it was a blown call. Unfortunately, he didn't go our way."

Wigginton was replaced by Jake Fox at first base, with bench coach Jeff Datz taking over for Samuel and reliever Michael Gonzalez coming out to replace starter Kevin Millwood.

"You know, we want to win," Kranitz said of an Orioles squad that is a Major League-worst 30-65. "And we want to win bad. And you could just see the competitiveness in Wiggy and how he went about [arguing for the team.]"

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.