ST. PETERSBURG -- Shortstop Mike Aviles lost his temper in the top of the seventh inning on Thursday night, and the result was his first Major League ejection.
It was home-plate umpire Dan Bellino who called out Aviles on strikes and ejected him just moments later. According to television replays, the third strike actually looked to be a good call. Aviles seemed upset about the consistency of Bellino's strike zone.
"Just frustrating, I guess," Aviles said after the Red Sox's 5-3 victory vs. the Rays. "[I] really wasn't questioning if it was a ball or a strike on the last one. It was more that he had called two balls very similar balls, so at that point, I had shut off that pitch. So when he called it a strike, he gave me the hook a little quick, prematurely. At that point, I definitely lost my cool and I apologize for that. It's definitely a little frustrating."
What irked Aviles so much on this night?
"When you're out there battling a team such as the Rays, who are notorious for their pitching, it's tough when they're getting some extra pitches," Aviles said. "It went both ways. I'm not saying we were getting hosed on pitches and they weren't. It was just frustrating for both sides. It was pretty evident, but it's just the way the game is played. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. It was unfortunate, but luckily we pulled out the victory."
Several Boston players seemed frustrated during their at-bats. And Adrian Gonzalez complained about the strike zone following Wednesday's loss.
"You can't fight the umpire and the other team, but we're a highly competitive team," said manager Bobby Valentine. "I like to be given a chance. A lot of guys had complaints tonight, and I was with them, but we've got to fight through it. We're trying our hardest, and I think they're trying their hardest, too."