Torii, Molitor ejected for arguing balls, strikes
MINNESOTA -- Twins outfielder Torii Hunter was ejected for arguing after being called out on strikes in the eighth inning and manager Paul Molitor also was run by home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger as the Royals completed a three-game sweep with a 7-2 win on Wednesday night at Target Field.
It was the ninth career ejection for Hunter, who then proceeded to fire his batting gloves and jersey onto the field. Molitor's ejection was his first as skipper.
"I thought it was a ball. The pitch before that I thought it was a little up and he called it a strike," Hunter said. "That's fine, but I thought the last pitch he called a strike was revenge because I said something the pitch before."
Molitor went out to try to restrain Hunter before he was ejected.
"I just told [Ripperger] that he had a bad night, or what I thought wasn't a very good night and he told me he had a really good night," Molitor said.
Shortly after the game, Molitor said he hadn't seen a replay of the pitch and missed most of Hunter's theatrics.
"I thought they were cheering that I was arguing for a change, but when I turned around, I saw the jersey coming off and then I realized that Torii hadn't quite reached the end of his whatever you want to call it," Molitor said.
Hunter appeared to have made contact with one of the umpires and could be facing a suspension.
"That's always a possibility," Molitor said. "I don't want to try and predict or speculate how the league offices are going to respond to his actions. I'm sure it would be reviewed and considered as to whether a suspension is appropriate or not."
Hunter went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk. His first strikeout was swinging.
Minnesota has won three of its last 10 games after scoring three runs in as many games against Kansas City.
"I think the frustration has been there over the past week as results have changed for us, at least here in the short term and so things get magnified," Molitor said. "An umpire never has a perfect night and it just seemed like in Torii's case, there [were a] couple pitches throughout the night that he had taken a little bit of an exception to."
Earlier this season, Hunter criticized umpire Joe West after a game-ending strikeout call.
"We have bad days, all of us. As hitters, pitchers, even umpires have bad days and he had one," Hunter said of Ripperger. "All you need to do is just look at the video and decide for yourself."