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Ejection a first for Pujols
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05/25/2002 10:30 pm ET 
Ejection a first for Pujols
Tigers manager ejected while arguing appeal
By Jimmy Greenfield / MLB.com

Tigers manager Luis Pujols didn't like the call on an appeal play in the first inning Saturday. (Brian Kersey/AP)
CHICAGO -- The first view was great. The second view, well, not so great.

Detroit manager Luis Pujols was watching Saturday night's game against Chicago from his usual spot in the dugout when White Sox leadoff hitter Kenny Lofton rounded first base en route to a first-inning double.

Pujols, as well as nearly every player on the bench, jumped up simultaneously to protest that Lofton had missed the bag. After an appeal was denied by home plate umpire Kerwin Danley, Pujols went out to state his case.

Before he knew it, Pujols had been ejected from a game for the first time since taking over as manager from Phil Garner last month. With bench coach Felipe Alou at the helm, the Tigers dropped a 6-4 decision to the White Sox, their seventh straight road loss.

"I just asked if he saw what I saw and the next thing you know it's enough," Pujols said. "He caught me off-guard."

Driven to the clubhouse, Pujols tried in vain to get a look at an instant replay to verify that his claim had been correct.

"The TV didn't run the tape," Pujols said. "I wonder why. They had a bad angle, they said. They didn't have a good angle. It was obvious that he missed it."

A replay shown in the press box proved to be inconclusive, but what was certain was that Danley admitted to Pujols that he had not seen if Lofton had hit the bag or not.

Pujols has been managing the Tigers for only 40 games, so it's possible he doesn't yet know what it takes to get tossed from a game.

Part of his surprise came from having argued a questionable call far longer and far louder in a game earlier this season against Kansas City without getting tossed.

"I said less and I was gone," Pujols added. "[Danley] didn't give me an answer; he threw me out. He rung me out and didn't say if the guy missed it or not. He said he didn't see it. I said, 'What were you looking at?' He said he was in a bad position or something like that."

All-Star ballot

Shane Halter was on the bench at the time, and, like Pujols, was certain that Lofton should have been called out.

"I saw him miss it and started yelling," Halter said. "The umpire said he didn't see it. He was honest."

Not to mention quick.

"He has a happy trigger, I think," Pujols said. "Because I didn't say enough to get thrown out of the game. I didn't cuss. I believed he missed first base and I have the right to go and ask.

"And that was his call, it was not the first base umpire's, and he was right there. And he tells me he didn't see it? What was he looking at? That was my question."

Lofton didn't score and the play ended up having no impact on the game other than forcing the Tigers to be without Pujols for the duration.

Tigers starter Seth Greisinger retired five straight hitters after Lofton's double before losing control of the game with two outs in the second.

The right-hander gave up five straight hits, capped by Ray Durham's two-run home run, to fall behind 5-1 before regaining his composure. Greisinger retired 13 of 15 batters after the onslaught, including the final 10 he faced.

A fifth-inning rally cut the lead to 5-4 but four White Sox relievers combined to throw 4 2/3 hitless innings to shut down the Tigers the rest of the way.

Jimmy Greenfield covers the White Sox for MLB.com and can be reached by e-mail at jcgreenx@yahoo.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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