BALTIMORE -- Baltimore starter Jason Hammel was ejected after hitting Tigers left fielder Matt Tuiasosopo in the top of the shoulder with a first-pitch slider in the fourth inning of Saturday's 10-3 Orioles loss at Camden Yards.
Hammel, who had surrendered back-to-back-to-back home runs to Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila to watch Detroit take a 4-1 lead, argued vehemently about the intent of the pitch -- yelling 'It's a slider!' to home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.
"Zero intent there to hit him, and obviously I give up three home runs, but I'm not the guy that answers getting hit around with hitting somebody," said Hammel, who had walked three of the first nine batters he faced and struggled to get a grip on the ball all afternoon "That's bush league if you ask me. It was a mistake. A slider that got away."
"You can issue a warning there," manager Buck Showalter said about the decision. "Obviously, three balls left the park and then a breaking ball hits the guy. You put yourself in [the umpire's] shoes and put yourself in our shoes. That's what I try to do. I can't speak for the umpire. I understand the intent of what they're trying to do. But I've got a real biased opinion of it, and it's pretty obvious to us there was nothing intentional about it."
Showalter came out to argue along with Hammel and catcher Matt Wieters, pushing Hammel toward the dugout at one point to prevent any further discipline. The disputed pitch, which Tuiasosopo immediately turned away from, came up high and tight and was an 82-mph slider.
"[The location of the pitch] doesn't necessarily play into it, but in this particular situation, everything's kind of played into what this looks like," said crew chief Jerry Layne, who referenced Major League Baseball's rule book and the responsibility of controlling the game and trying to avoid a retaliation. "They claim there was no intent. Three home runs and a guy gets hit, you're an umpire, what do you do?"
"I understand his position," Hammel said of Wendelstedt's job to keep the game in order. "I still don't understand why he threw me out. That was the quickest toss I've ever seen. It was almost immediate. Trying to assess the situation. Yeah, three home runs in a row, next batter gets hit with a pitch, but it depends on what pitch is being thrown. There was zero intent there, so that's all I have to say."
It was the first career ejection for the 29-year-old Hammel, who was charged with five runs -- one of which scored after he left -- on five hits and three walks over three-plus innings. He was replaced by T.J. McFarland, having thrown 63 pitches for his shortest outing of the year.
Wendelstedt issued a warning to Tigers starter Justin Verlander at the bottom of the inning, although the Tigers dugout seemed to agree with Hammel's assessment.
"I don't think he was throwing at him at all," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It looked like a curve ball that he threw. I don't think he was throwing at him. However, in defense of the umpire, he might not have known it was a curve ball, because in the shadows, it was tough to see. No, in my heart, I do not think he was throwing at him."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less