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ANTA -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson was ejected for the first time this season during the sixth inning of Saturday's 5-4 loss to Atlanta after an extended argument over a call at first base.
Leading off the frame, Martin Prado knocked a one-hop comebacker back at pitcher Edwin Jackson, who fielded it and made a throw to first baseman Adam LaRoche. Prado appeared to be about a step behind the throw, which LaRoche reeled in, but first-base umpire Marvin Hudson ruled LaRoche's foot was off the base and called Prado safe. Replays appeared to show that LaRoche kept his left foot on the base. The play was officially ruled a throwing error by Jackson.
Jackson was clearly upset by the call, putting his arms up and protesting the call as he marched around the infield. LaRoche also argued the call before Johnson came out to argue with Hudson and eventually got ejected.
The call proved to be costly. The Braves were down, 4-2, when Prado reached, but Jason Heyward followed up Prado's at-bat with a game-tying, two-run homer off Jackson. The right-hander left the game after recording one out in the sixth, turning his head to look toward first base as he walked back toward the dugout.
"It's just wanting them to get it right. I mean, I hadn't been ejected all year long. That's the first one. And I like Marvin," Johnson said. "I think he's a good umpire. But it was really a situation where we need to get it right. That's what got me. And when he wouldn't get help because he was out of position, that's what really got me going. Then I knew I was probably going to get thrown.
"I knew I was over-arguing. But I knew, even with these old eyes, I knew I was right. I didn't need a replay. And I'm thinking: Here's a young man, right on top of it. Obviously he had to be out of position. But that's part of baseball. That's why you get thrown out. I didn't think I was going to get thrown out this year. I was trying to be on my best behavior."
Johnson emphasized that he didn't think it was a case where instant replay would have helped or even been necessary. Instead, he focused on the fact that Hudson didn't ask for help or at least convene with his fellow umpires, as they had done earlier in the game on a disputed stolen base. LaRoche echoed his manager's frustration, albeit with no shock in his voice.
"I'm not surprised anymore. I used to be," LaRoche said. "I don't know how they determine whether they ask for help or not. Some guys don't mind doing it. Most of them don't."