ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After the Red Sox' 5-3 win over the Rays Thursday night, Mike Aviles explained the circumstances surrounding his first career ejection.
The Sox shortstop was thrown out from the game by home plate umpire Dan Bellino after arguing a called third strike, which ended the visitors' half of the seventh inning.
"Just frustrating, I guess," Aviles explained. "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. Definitely a little frustrating."
Aviles wasn't alone in his analysis of Bellino's inconsistency, with numerous Red Sox batters expressing displeasure with the umpire's balls and strikes calls throughout the game.
"You can't fight the umpire and the other team, but we're a highly competitive team," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "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 [the umpires] are trying their hardest, too."
Aviles, who said he had been thrown out of a few games in the minor leagues ("But no one really cares about the minors," he said), said there was no carryover from Wednesday night's game, which also led some complaining from the Red Sox clubhouse regarding the strike zone.
"I don't think going into the game there was frustration," the shortstop said. "It was just that during the game there was a little more frustration because we're out there battling, and they're trying hard as well. Like I said, when you have a pitching staff like the Rays, it makes it that much tougher. So, they're known for throwing good pitchers at us. They're throwing quality pitches. When you have good arms like that an a little help, sometimes it makes it unenjoyable."
As for Aviles' animated argument with Bellino -- which was followed by Valentine coming out to argue -- the infielder said he didn't remember the particulars.
"I don't even know what happened," he said. "Blacked out."
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