ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford and Joe Maddon were ejected during the fifth inning of the Rays' 2-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox Tuesday night for arguing a pitch that plate umpire Bob Davidson called a strike.
Crawford objected to the call, stepping out of the batter's box to exchange words with Davidson after left-hander Jon Lester's first-pitch curve broke across the plate and appeared to wind up out of the strike zone.
"He was just like, 'That's a good pitch.' I'm thinking to myself, if the plate is in the other batter's box, then it's a good pitch," Crawford said. "It went back and forth. He didn't want to back down, and I definitely wasn't going to lose a trash-talking contest."
Maddon came out of the dugout when the words got heated. Crawford was ejected as the manager stepped between the player and umpire. When Maddon continued the argument, Davidson tossed him, too.
Crew chief Tim Tschida said after the game that Crawford simply got too close for comfort.
"Carl didn't like the strike call and made his point," Tschida said. "They were hammering it back and forth, but Carl gradually started moving closer to the umpire. Bob's line was, 'Now you're coming into my space here. Back off.' When he said, 'Back off,' [Crawford] actually moved closer. That's why Carl was ejected from the game."
Replays appeared to show both Crawford and Madden made contact with Davidson, however both felt it may have been initiated by the umpire.
"It was close. He was definitely rubbing me also. It's hard to distinguish who exactly encountered or created the first rub," Maddon said, adding that he didn't feel he or Crawford should be facing a suspension.
"If anybody should be getting suspended it should be the umpire. I don't feel like I did anything wrong defending myself," Crawford said. "He was the one who got all defensive real quick. Normally when they get defensive like that, it's because they know they made a mistake."
Although Davidson appeared to toss Maddon quickly, Tschida said managers questioning strikes is almost an automatic ejection.
"When a manager leaves his position in the dugout to argue a ball-strike decision, it's immediate," Tschida explained. "So again, it wasn't anything personal. It wasn't anything insulting. It's not uncommon when a manager gets there in a ball-strike situation for him to take up the argument. They know they're not supposed to. They know what the consequences are."
Maddon called Davidson's stike zone "wide," but the the crew refused to comment, citing the electronic system that evaluates the umpires around baseball.
The ejections were the first of the season for Crawford and Maddon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.