The umpire awarded Calhoun first base on an illegal quick pitch by starter Marcus Stroman in a 3-1 count. Calhoun raised his left hand after Stroman delivered a pitch that was clearly in the strike zone, and was then sent to first base. Illegal quick pitches are considered balls when the bases are empty, and balks when there are men on base.
Gibbons came out to talk to the umpires just inside the first-base line, while Stroman and catcher Russell Martin hovered around the conversation. After a few minutes of discussion, Gibbons was ejected.
"He said it was a quick pitch, but from what I saw and of course our guys on the field, he was in the box," Gibbons said after the game, as he sat in the visiting manager's office, where he watched the rest of the game after his 41st career ejection in the Majors. "So he made the right call if you're going to call a quick pitch, it was ball four. But I just sensed some confusion, a little bit of uncertainty and then they got together. I don't know."
Stroman said he didn't get an explanation from the umpires. Blue Jays defenders were equally confused.
"I've never seen anything like that in my life," said infielder Devon Travis.
Stroman was visibly upset with the call and allowed consecutive singles, which scored Calhoun. After that, Stroman retired 17 in a row until a one-out single in the ninth.
Both Stroman and Gibbons said the pitcher has mixed in quick pitches throughout the season, though Sunday was the first time a call went against Stroman.
"He's been doing it," Gibbons said. "He hasn't been hit for it all year, but just a little confusion that kind of shocked me a little bit."
In the eighth, Stroman had a pitch waved off on a 3-2 delivery to Martin Maldonado, who was awarded time out. Stroman's next pitch went for a called strike three.
"I'm not concerned at all," said Stroman, who pitched his second complete game of the season. "I did it after it, too, a couple times and nothing was called. He just got kind of thrown off with the hitter and it was just one of those things. I don't think it's something that I'm going to be worried about at all going forward. If I have to take it out, I'll take it out. It's not something that I'm really worried about.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Blue Jays on Sunday.