BOSTON — Eric O’Flaherty was sure he had picked up a key strikeout. Instead, the Atlanta Braves left-hander was ejected along with manager Bobby Cox and third baseman Chipper Jones.
And J.D. Drew, given another chance, singled in the run that gave the Boston Red Sox a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning of their 6-5 win Sunday.
"It’s the whole game right there, the whole game can change with one pitch," O’Flaherty said. "You throw a fastball right down the middle. They don’t call it. Obviously, there were quite a few today."
The Braves tied the game on Garret Anderson’s RBI single in the eighth before Boston won it on Nick Green’s homer on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth.
The ejection for Jones was just the sixth of his career and first this season. It was the first of O’Flaherty’s career. Both said they were thrown out by plate umpire Bill Hohn even though they didn’t curse.
"I said, "How can you miss that? It’s right down the middle,’ " O’Flaherty said, "not one cuss word."
Jones said Hohn was baiting O’Flaherty and stepped in to defend the pitcher.
"I was upset that he was looking for a fight with my pitcher," Jones said. "There’s no reason for him to come out from behind the home plate area. Stay back there and, obviously, you’ve got to know that Eric is going to be upset over the noncall the pitch before and then giving up the lead."
Cox came out of the dugout, argued with Hohn and was thrown out for the 145th time in his career, extending his major league record. Hall of Fame manager John McGraw is second with 131. Cox’s only other ejection this year came on June 11.
"I don’t know why umpires miss strikes. I’ll never understand that," the 68-year-old Cox said. "Drew was taking off. He thought it was strike three."
Jones kept arguing along the third-base line and was thrown out after Cox was ejected.
"It’s something where (Hohn) just needs to say, "I missed the call,’ and leave it alone and walk away," Jones said, "but he goes looking for a fight. He wants to throw guys out and that’s all I told him."
In the first inning, Jones had argued a called third strike by Hohn, who looked at him for several seconds as Jones walked to the Atlanta dugout.
"There are a lot of confrontational umpires nowadays and that’s why you have the ejections," Jones said. "You can’t talk to them. You can’t ask them a question. Nothing. They feel like you’re attacking them."