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Soto surprised by first career ejection

Nats phenom tossed in 6th after discussing previous at-bat
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Nationals phenom Juan Soto could not recall ever being thrown out of a game in his life.

So, he was surprised when he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the sixth inning of Wednesday night's 8-3 loss to the Braves, especially considering he had not seen a pitch that inning. Moments after Bryce Harper connected on his 28th home run of the season, Soto stood in the batter's box and told home-plate umpire Greg Gibson the pitch in his previous at-bat -- which Gibson called for strike three -- was a ball, so Soto could, as he put it, "make sure [Gibson] can understand and be better and help him help us."

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WASHINGTON -- Nationals phenom Juan Soto could not recall ever being thrown out of a game in his life.

So, he was surprised when he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the sixth inning of Wednesday night's 8-3 loss to the Braves, especially considering he had not seen a pitch that inning. Moments after Bryce Harper connected on his 28th home run of the season, Soto stood in the batter's box and told home-plate umpire Greg Gibson the pitch in his previous at-bat -- which Gibson called for strike three -- was a ball, so Soto could, as he put it, "make sure [Gibson] can understand and be better and help him help us."

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Gibson took off his mask to exchange words with Soto before handing the 19-year-old his first career ejection.

"I was more surprised," Soto said. "I didn't think he was going to toss me out. I didn't say anything."

Video: ATL@WSH: Soto, Martinez talk about ejection

A few Nationals took issue with Gibson's strike zone on the night, including Harper and Adam Eaton, before Soto was sent to the clubhouse. The Nats took issue with the fact that Soto was not given a warning. He did not use expletives when talking to Gibson but was thrown out of the game anyway.

"Basically, the reason he was ejected is he came up and he was discussing his at-bat before that," crew chief Jerry Layne told a pool reporter after speaking to Gibson. "It specifically states that it's a no-no to go in and look at pitches and then come out and argue on top of that, plus on top of arguing balls and strikes in itself. So, that's what got him in trouble."

Manager Dave Martinez emerged from the dugout to argue on Soto's behalf after the ejection, and the Nationals' bench also voiced displeasure, causing hitting coach Kevin Long to also be ejected from the game. It was Long's second ejection this season.

"I think it was kind of uncalled for, really," Martinez said. "I told him I'm not going to argue balls and strikes. I can't see balls and strikes, but clearly Juan thought it was a ball. We do have video to see. I didn't think it was appropriate for him to throw him out in that situation like that. He could've said, 'Hey, that's enough. Get in the box.' But I'm not Gibby. I'm not going to speak for him."

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Juan Soto