Rauch, Farrell ejected after series of close calls

Rauch, Farrell ejected after series of close calls

Rauch, Farrell ejected after series of close calls
TORONTO -- The Canada Day fireworks weren't the only ones to go off at Rogers Centre this weekend as tempers flared in a tense ninth-inning confrontation between the Blue Jays and home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez.

Blue Jays reliever Jon Rauch and manager John Farrell were ejected during the fracas, much to the chagrin of the 44,078 in attendance who watched their team fall, 5-3, to the Phillies on Saturday afternoon.

The incident occurred immediately following a Ryan Howard at-bat, in which the Phillies first baseman took two borderline pitches with a 2-2 count and two out to draw a walk. The next batter, Shane Victorino, singled in Chase Utley from second base to give the Phillies a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the inning.

As Utley scored, Rauch had words with Marquez, who immediately tossed him from the game. Rauch then had to be physically restrained by Farrell, who ripped off the reliever's jersey as the 6-foot-11 righty clamored to get closer to Marquez to give him a piece of his mind.

"The first thing I told the umpire is that it's a shame that he can't have an ERA because those runs are his. I think he directly affected the outcome of the game," Rauch said. "I voiced my opinion. Maybe a little bit too vocally, but it happens."

After the game, Rauch said he was not upset about the play at the plate, but took exception to the two balls to Howard that allowed the inning to continue.

"When the first one didn't get called, I was a little upset, but you get back on the bump and you try to make a good pitch the next pitch. But when the next one didn't get called, I was pretty frustrated," Rauch said. "Having an umpire affect the outcome, it's frustrating. You're doing everything you possibly can to do your job and to have somebody else affect the outcome of it, it's just not pleasant."

Farrell, with the help of catcher J.P. Arencibia and bench coach Don Wakamatsu, restrained the hulking reliever and led him back to the dugout. Farrell then brought in Shawn Camp from the bullpen and had words with Marquez on his way back to the dugout.

It was at that point that Marquez tossed Farrell, which set off a tirade from the Blue Jays manager, who exchanged heated words with Marquez near home plate and kicked up dirt around the plate before he left the field. Several fans then threw debris on the field and loudly booed Marquez.

"I think [Marquez] does a good job, but the fact is that pitches similar to that were called strikes throughout the course of the ballgame," Farrell said after the second ejection of his brief managerial career. "[Rauch] felt like he made a quality pitch and I agree with him on that. I feel like he threw a strike on the 3-2 count."

Farrell said he feels that Marquez establishes a strike zone that is favorable to pitchers, something he also noticed when Marquez was the home-plate umpire for Toronto's 4-2 loss to the Tigers on June 27.

"That's not being critical -- that's stating what we've experienced with him behind the plate," Farrell said. "The 3-2 cutter, that was clearly on the plate. I thought it caught the bottom of the strike zone. We have the benefit of the side angle to see the elevation of the pitch."

What was likely most frustrating for the Blue Jays was that Phillies starter Roy Halladay recorded strikeouts on several borderline pitches. Jose Bautista struck out looking in the first and argued briefly with Marquez about the call, while Aaron Hill struck out to end the seventh and threw his helmet and bat in frustration.

But interestingly, Blue Jays starter Carlos Villanueva had a different opinion of Marquez's strike zone after the game, saying he felt it was favoring the hitters.

"It seems like every time he's behind the plate and we pitch, it's a tight zone," Villanueva said. "All we ask if that you call the game both ways the same. He wasn't bad with me. Some calls were close, but it's an appreciation thing on his part."

Regardless, additional league discipline could be on its way for Rauch as the reliever came close to making physical contact with Marquez several times during his on-field outburst. After the game, Rauch said it was "up there" with the most frustrated he has ever been during a game.

Marquez declined to speak to reporters following the game.

Arden Zwelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.