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Price, Rays upset over exchange with umpire

Tampa Bay's ace says Hallion swore at him, which Hallion denies

Special to

CHICAGO -- Despite breaking through for his first win of the season as the Rays rallied for an 8-3 victory over the White Sox on Sunday, David Price seemed a bit irritated as he talked with the media in the visitors' clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field.

A couple of minutes into the session, Price revealed why: He still was upset at an exchange he had with home-plate umpire Tom Hallion as he walked off the mound following the seventh inning, his final inning of the day.

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On Price's next-to-last pitch, he thought he had struck out Dewayne Wise with a fastball, but Hallion called it a ball. Price, who appeared to take a step toward the first-base dugout, retired Wise on a comebacker on the next pitch.

"The 2-2 fastball to Dewayne Wise was a perfect pitch," Price said. "I really don't know why he swung at the next one since it was in the same spot. Then I walked off the mound. I was mad at myself and I didn't say a single word to the umpire, I didn't look at him and he yells at me to 'Throw the ball over the [expletive] plate,' and that's why our dugout went nuts. They heard him say it.

"That's terrible. You don't speak to people that way. I didn't disrespect him. I went to talk with him after the first inning. I was calm. That's terrible."

A pool reporter relayed Price's comments to Hallion, who denied saying it.

"I'll come right out bluntly and say he's a liar," Hallion said to the pool reporter about Price. "I'm denying what he said I said pretty strongly. I said, 'Just throw the ball.' That's all I said to him."

When asked if Price said anything to him, Hallion said: "He might not have said anything, but he certainly gave enough body language to insinuate that he was [ticked] off."

Before the pool reporter went to the umpire's room, Price said that Hallion would be a liar if he denied it. When Hallion's postgame comments made it back to the Rays' clubhouse, the room erupted and several players shouted that the umpire was lying.

"They said he stared me down the entire way into the dugout, and that's why our dugout went nuts because they heard exactly what he said," Price said. "For him to speak to me that way ... no, no. I don't know what he thinks he heard.

"Something has to be done about that. That's why I told you guys. That's terrible. My own dad doesn't speak to me that way. Some freaking umpire's not going to speak to me that way. He wouldn't say that to me off the field."

Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the confrontation was the only one to be ejected was mild-mannered Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, who may have been blamed for something another player said.

"The turning point of the game was the ejection of Hellickson," manager Joe Maddon said jokingly, before Price spoke to the media. "The guy's constantly chirping from the dugout. He's one of the most vociferous players on our team. To finally have an umpire get him, I was not surprised, but it got everyone pumped up and led to the victory."

John Jackson is a contributor to

Tampa Bay Rays, Jeremy Hellickson, David Price