Leyland loses temper as Tigers fall

Leyland loses temper as Tigers fall

DETROIT -- The Tigers couldn't hold down David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez all weekend. As it turned out, they couldn't hold down Jim Leyland's temper, either.

Six weeks ago, Leyland told reporters he'd like to see a rule that would forbid managers from arguing judgment calls, since they serve no purpose. He didn't mention anything about balls and strikes, but he hates the notion of showing up an umpire. Once he was thrown out on Sunday, though, he had plenty to say to home-plate umpire Paul Nauert about his strike zone.

"He's got all kinds of fire," catcher Vance Wilson said after Sunday's 8-3 loss. "He'll full of fire. He's full of life."

On they went, Leyland showing his fire and life, Nauert standing there holding back his. Before Leyland went back to the dugout, he stood over home plate and held his hand out around knee level to show where he thought Jason Grilli's pitches were hitting the strike zone. Without argument, it generated the biggest ovation of the afternoon.

The players, meanwhile, stood and watched.

"I didn't think it was funny," Brandon Inge said. "I thought it was awesome. He's sticking up for us."

That wasn't Leyland's goal.

"That's high school stuff," he said. "This is professional baseball. All that rah-rah stuff doesn't do anything. If I need to go out there and stir my team up by arguing with an umpire, then I've got a bad team. I was upset. That's as simple as it is."

Ortiz and Ramirez -- held to 1-for-13 combined over the first two games of the series -- both powered solo homers Sunday, but they later helped seal the rubber match of the three-game series without putting the ball in play. Three consecutive bases-loaded, two-out walks from Grilli helped put the game out of reach, though Leyland was only around to see half of the 12 balls out of the strike zone.

Had Grilli not made contact in the at-bat leading up to them, he wouldn't have to throw any of those pitches. He replaced Bobby Seay with two on and two outs in the inning to pitch to Kevin Youkilis, whose fifth-inning homer had chased starter Zack Miner from his Major League debut. Grilli put two strikes on Youkilis and tried to work him inside before his 2-2 sinker hit Youkilis on his left forearm, loading the bases and bringing on Ortiz.

"I just opened up and it got away from me," Grilli said. "Not the pitch I wanted to throw him."

None of Grilli's first three pitches to Ortiz were close to strikes, and he wasn't going to argue for them. The pitch in question was a 3-1 offering that he and Wilson felt hit the same spot as their 3-0 strike. Leyland jawed with Nauert from the dugout as Ortiz walked to first and J.T. Snow trotted home.

After Ramirez swung and missed at a first-pitch slider, he took back-to-back breaking balls off the outside corner. Wilson, who felt they were getting the outside corner earlier, stood up and exchanged words over his shoulder with Nauert, which continued as Wilson squatted back down.

"I know a couple days ago, Manny had a couple tough ones called on him," Wilson said. "What you don't want, though, is all of a sudden their big guys start to get a different zone in crucial parts of the game."

Neither, apparently, did Leyland, who caught Nauert's attention again. A few seconds later, Nauert tossed him.

Showing up or not, once Leyland was ejected, he was going to make it worth the trouble.

"You do what you think is right," he said. "I have no problem with the umpires. That guy's a good umpire."

Asked whether it felt good, Leyland quipped, "When you smoke three packs a day and you're out of breath after saying, 'You're [garbage],' no, it doesn't feel good."

Grilli worked Ramirez back to a full count but walked him, then walked Trot Nixon on five pitches. By the time Chris Spurling induced a Jason Varitek fly ball for the third out in his last Major League appearance for a while -- he was optioned back to Triple-A Toledo immediately after the game -- three Tigers pitchers had combined for 50 pitches in the inning.

Grilli, to his defense, wasn't going to contend that one or two pitches would've changed the inning.

"It would've changed the count a little bit, but I'm not going to blame the game on an umpire if I can't go out there and do my job," he said. "I'll let the manager argue balls and strikes. I'm out there to try to make my pitches. I thought several of them were right there, but I didn't help my own cause."

Had he gotten the strike on Ortiz, he still would've had to make a full-count pitch to him. And Ortiz had already made his damage.

Ortiz and Ramirez both homered after Miner (0-1) left with three runs allowed in four-plus innings. All of those runs scored on home runs, too. Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the second inning before Youkilis' second home run of the series.

With Ortiz coming up, Leyland pulled Miner for lefty Jamie Walker, who left a 1-1 pitch over the middle of the plate. Ortiz lined it 436 feet to the seats in left-center field, stretching Boston's lead to 4-1.

An inning later, the Tigers were within 90 feet of tying it with three consecutive hits leading off the sixth. Marcus Thames' double just inside third base scored Wilson and set up Curtis Granderson to score on Ivan Rodriguez's ensuing groundout, which sent Thames to third with one out.

Red Sox starter Matt Clement (5-4) kept him there with a first-pitch groundout from Magglio Ordonez towards shortstop Gonzalez along a drawn-in infield. Carlos Guillen earned a two-out walk, but Clement escaped when Craig Monroe hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice.

Roman Colon retired Youkilis and Ortiz in the seventh before Ramirez hit the first pitch he saw to right for his 25th career homer against the Tigers and a two-run Boston advantage. The four homers allowed tied a Tigers season high and helped Detroit's season-long homestand end with a 4-6 record.

Leyland had no complains with that.

"I think we did fine," he said. "We should've split with the Yankees. We should've won two out of three from Boston. We didn't do it. So you tip your hat to those teams. They're everybody's barometer."

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