DETROIT — It was a nice play to end a decisive 8-1 victory and punctuate a key series win. Brad Miller fielded the hard ground ball off the bat of Don Kelly, flipped it to Chris Taylor at second base, who then fired to Logan Morrison at first base for a pretty 4-6-3 double play.
Unfortunately for Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, he had to watch it from the manager’s office in the visiting clubhouse at Comerica Field.
For the second straight game, McClendon was ejected by umpire Tony Randazzo, providing an odd subtext to the series with the Tigers.
Randazzo, who was umpiring third base during Sunday’s series finale, tossed McClendon in the seventh inning shortly after ruling that Alex Avila did not go around on a checked-swing appeal from home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater.
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McClendon, who was sitting in the dugout at the time of the ejection, seemed confused and went out to ask first-base umpire and crew chief Brian Gorman what was going on.
“He said I put my hand up,” McClendon said. “That’s a new one.”
Indeed, Randazzo told a pool a reporter the same reason.
“Took his hand and shooed off my call,” Randazzo said.
Gorman defended Randazzo’s decision, saying, “Gestures are just as powerful as words sometimes.”
McClendon had plenty of words for Randazzo on Saturday night after he was ejected in the second inning. Randazzo was working behind the plate and took issue with what he thought was McClendon chastising him about balls and strikes calls.
McClendon maintained that it was players on the bench and that he had stopped sparring with Randazzo after being warned in the first inning. The confrontation got heated when McClendon said Randazzo told him he’s seen his act before.
McClendon and Randazzo have some history beyond this series. In 2005, the Pirates, who were managed by McClendon at the time, lost a game to the Yankees in New York after Randazzo, who was the umpire at first base, called Gary Sheffield safe on what would have been a game-ending double play. Replays showed that Sheffield was out. With two outs, the Yankees tied the game in the ninth inning and then won the game in 10th on a Jason Giambi walk-off home run.
McClendon did not argue with Randazzo in that game and was not ejected.
“I never even left the dugout,” he recalled.
The next day, tge crew chief for that game, Ed Montague, admitted that Randazzo had gotten the call wrong.
McClendon was critical of Randazzo’s conduct in his pregame media session that following day, questioning why the umpire was “glaring” into the Pirates dugout, specifically at him.
Fast forward to Sunday where a frustrated McClendon was tired of talking about Randazzo and ready to get away from him and that umpiring crew.
“Really, there’s not a lot to say on that,” he said. “The incident and what happened speaks for itself. You guys saw it. There’s no sense in me even commenting on it.”
• Outfielder James Jones was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma after Sunday’s game. The Mariners needed to make room on the 25-man roster for Monday’s starting pitcher, Roenis Elias. The rookie left-hander was optioned to Tacoma on August 7 as the Mariners tried to control his innings pitched for this season. Elias is 9-9 with a 4.14 ERA in 23 starts. He has thrown 1342/3 innings and the Mariners believe the short hiatus in Class AAA will keep him near his limit of around 170 innings this year.
• Minor league outifelder Jabari Blash, who was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a drug of abuse, was re-instated off the suspended list and transferred from Class AAA Tacoma to Class AA Jackson.
• Kyle Seager has had three RBI or more in nine games this season.
• Robinson Cano was intentionally walked for the 16th time this season. It’s the third most in the AL behind Victor Martinez (21) and David Ortiz (19).