3 Rangers ejected after pivotal third-strike call

June 16th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- doesn’t get angry or emotional often on the baseball field. He never really lets himself get too high or too low.

But an at-bat in the seventh inning of Thursday night’s 5-3 loss to the Angels left Semien the most frustrated he’s ever been in a Rangers uniform and caused his second career ejection in 1,249 games.

In a 3-2 count, Semien offered a check swing on a changeup in the dirt, but thought he pulled back in time to draw the walk. Home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez appealed to first-base umpire Ramon De Jesus, who ruled that Semien swung at the pitch for out No. 2 of the inning.

Semien walked to the dugout but was ejected between innings after talking with De Jesus in the outfield.

It would ultimately be a game-changing at-bat, and not in a good way for Texas, which trailed by just one run at the time.

Travis Jankowski, who drew a leadoff walk, had made his way to third base after a steal and sac fly from Josh Smith. But with Semien striking out, it allowed the Angels to intentionally walk Corey Seager, undoubtedly the Rangers’ best hitter, and Angels pitcher Chris Devenski was left facing Nathaniel Lowe, who entered the day just 4-for-his-last-24.

Lowe grounded out, leaving Jankowski stranded at third and ending any threat.

“The game is on the line,” Semien said. “I'm just mad at myself for even offering at that pitch, but I thought I made a good take, and I look up and the umpires are saying I swung. I kind of made some gestures towards him and walked into the dugout. When we went on defense, I calmly told him, ‘Hey, the game is on the line. Like, we all want to be good when the game's on the line. I need 100 percent focus with the game on the line.’

“And he threw me out of the game. I've talked to umpires with calmness because I want to know where they're at. I want to know why they made a decision, you know? So I didn't even get an answer from him. I just got thrown out.”

Semien said he just wanted an explanation for the call and felt like he was calm and level headed enough in his interaction to be afforded that.

“I talk to [umpires] every single day,” Semien said. “When I'm out in the field, I talk. It was always with that calmness. What I did say was, ‘Whatever, if he wants to throw me out for what I said, explain that to me. Don't just throw me out and walk away.’ That part of that was frustrating. Like I said, the game was on the line. I need better focus. We all want to be better with the game on the line, and that was it.”

Not only was Semien ejected, but so were manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Mike Maddux. Maddux ran out of the dugout as Semien and De Jesus spoke between innings and was ejected shortly after the second baseman. After more conversation with De Jesus, Bochy joined them. It was Bochy’s second ejection this season and the 79th of his managerial career.

Bochy admitted that it was a tough call for any umpire to make, especially in a tight situation, and the entire dugout was clearly upset that something that close went against them.

“Emotions are flying and we were barking pretty good,” he said. “ [Semien] went out to talk about it and got tossed there. Of course, Mike's on the other end of the dugout and was able to get out there quick. It's a call that might have turned that game around. We don't know, but certainly it was a huge call that went against us.”

The Rangers ultimately put themselves in a position to potentially win the game in the bottom of the ninth inning, when they loaded the bases with no outs, but were only able to push one run across.

“We lost the game,” Semien said after watching the last two innings from the clubhouse. “It's frustrating. We had chances. We had chances all series. We lost three out of four. So it's just frustrating.”