MINNEAPOLIS -- Say this much for a Royals team heading for a second straight 100-or-more loss season: There’s still plenty of fight in them.
Left-handed starter Mike Montgomery became the fourth Royal to be ejected in the last week, this one coming in the fifth inning of Kansas City’s 8-5 loss to the Twins on Thursday night at Target Field.
Montgomery’s frustrations with home-plate umpire Manny Gonzalez boiled over after he gave up a home run on a 3-2 pitch to Mitch Garver leading off the fifth. Two pitches in the sequence at the bottom of the zone were called balls.
After pitching coach Cal Eldred made a mound visit, Gonzalez came near the mound to break up the meeting. Montgomery began chirping at Gonzalez, who appeared to warn Montgomery to cease.
But Montgomery said something else, and Gonzalez handed him his first career ejection. Manager Ned Yost, bench coach Dale Sveum and outfielder Alex Gordon were ejected from games on the last homestand -- it was Gordon’s second career ejection.
Montgomery, who went four-plus innings and gave up five runs, including three home runs, seemed to start getting frustrated in the third inning. He threw an 0-2 cutter that looked borderline on the outside edge that was called a ball. Nelson Cruz, who homered twice in the game, blasted a three-run home run on the next pitch, tying the score at 3.
Yost was diplomatic about Gonzalez.
"There were some calls that could've gone either way that he didn't get the benefit of,” Yost said of Montgomery.
While Yost said he could sense Montgomery’s frustrations mounting throughout the night, he said he didn’t purposely send Eldred for a mound visit in the fifth just to calm Montgomery down.
Montgomery said it wouldn’t have mattered by then anyway -- he was ready to vent by the time Gonzalez neared the mound to break up the Eldred visit.
Crew chief Sam Holbrook spoke to a pool reporter after the game and he said Montgomery was thrown out for “arguing balls and strikes.”
Holbrook also confirmed that Montgomery was warned to quit chirping at Gonzalez.
“Montgomery continued, and wound up getting ejected,” Holbrook said.
Montgomery said he was pretty sure he got his money’s worth in his exchanges with Gonzalez after the ejection.
“I hope so,” Montgomery said. “That’s my first one ever.”