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Bellinger tossed in heated Freeway Series finale

@kengurnick
July 25, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Chirping about Dan Iassogna’s strike zone began when Joc Pederson was called out leading off the bottom of the first inning, and it reached a crescendo after the bottom of the eighth when Cody Bellinger was ejected by the home-plate umpire in the Dodgers’ 3-2 loss to

LOS ANGELES -- Chirping about Dan Iassogna’s strike zone began when Joc Pederson was called out leading off the bottom of the first inning, and it reached a crescendo after the bottom of the eighth when Cody Bellinger was ejected by the home-plate umpire in the Dodgers’ 3-2 loss to the Angels on Wednesday night.

“I just was telling him how far it was off the plate,” said Bellinger. “He had a bad night.”

Box score

So did the Dodgers. They lost on an unearned run after a throwing error by catcher Austin Barnes. They lost starting pitcher Ross Stripling (stiff neck) and second baseman Enrique Hernandez (sore left hand) to injuries.

Stripling (stiff neck) '50-50' to make next start

And they suffered their first Freeway Series season sweep, losing these two games at Dodger Stadium after dropping both June games in Anaheim. It’s only the second time a club has swept the Interleague showdown, the Dodgers having gone 4-0 in the inaugural year of 1997.

Manager Dave Roberts tried to take the high road.

“Dan’s been around a long time, and [umpires] are busting their tails every night to get it right,” said Roberts. “When you see balls off the plate that can flip counts and can change innings and certainly at-bats, yeah, it gets frustrating at times when you’re the hitter. But those calls didn’t cost us the game.

“The results speak to those guys played better. They scored more than we did, pitched better, hit better, yeah, they played better.”

Whether it was the heat or the intensity of the regional rivalry or whatever, Bellinger lost his cool when he thought Iassogna blew some calls.

Down a run, Justin Turner (who had homered earlier) led off the bottom of the eighth with a single. Bellinger took ball one from Cam Bedrosian, then Iassogna called strikes on two pitches that Statcast tracked as clearly outside, Bellinger motioning in disagreement after each call. He then took a third strike down the middle.

During A.J. Pollock’s inning-ending double-play grounder that followed, Bellinger retreated to the clubhouse to watch the video of his at-bat. That sent him over the edge. When the inning ended, he stepped out of the dugout to get Iassogna’s attention and held his hands apart to demonstrate how far outside the two pitches were. Iassogna immediately ejected him.

“Bottom of the eighth inning, one-run game, we got to lock it in,” Bellinger said. “Just frustration that boiled over. There were calls on their side called strikes as well. But I’m trying to do the best I can to get on base, and it’s hard to hit like that.

“I don’t remember what I said, to be honest. But when I saw the video and how they’re outside, I said we’ve got to do something about this.”

This was Bellinger’s first ejection as a Major Leaguer.

Dodgers fans might remember another big-name ejection by Iassogna. On Aug. 1, 2002, he tossed Dodgers closer Eric Gagne, who hit the Reds' Adam Dunn on the arm with a pitch after allowing a two-run homer to Aaron Boone that cut a ninth-inning lead to 4-2. With no warning, Iassogna tossed Gagne, the game went to extra innings, tearing up the Dodgers bullpen and leading then-manager Jim Tracy to call the ejection “the grossest error in judgment in quite possibly the history of the game.”

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.