By Tom Schad
Gio Gonzalez was ejected in the first inning of the Nationals’ thrilling rain-delayed 7-6 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday, and Sunday morning he explained why.
Gonzalez was seen pointing and yelling at home plate umpire Todd Tichenor from the second step of the Nationals dugout during Carlos Lee’s first at-bat. The Marlins already had hit two home runs in the inning, the first of which came after a debatable pitch to leadoff hitter Gorkys Hernandez. Ross Detwiler’s 2-2 pitch was called a ball, drawing boos from the 28,000 in attendance at Nationals Park. Hernandez homered on the next pitch.
Gonzalez said he was just yelling at Tichenor about the strike zone when he was ejected.
“[It’s] just one of those situations, let it go,” Gonzalez said. “You mostly can’t talk about stuff like that. He’s doing his job, I’m just giving him a heads up – that’s all it was. I wasn’t trying to offend him in any way. Just after that, it felt like the game sped up a little bit. Other than that, I think the positive of all that was that we ended up getting the win. It stirred up something in the dugout – that’s all we need.”
After the ejection, Gonzalez went back to the clubhouse and watched the rest of the game on TV. It was a long, back-and-forth affair that lasted nearly six hours due to a two-hour, 33-minute rain delay in the middle of the ninth inning. Jayson Werth tied the game with a solo home run in the first at-bat following the delay. Corey Brown won it in the tenth with a single to right field.
“When we went into extra innings [and] Jayson hit that home run to tie it, I was almost doing cartwheels in here,” Gonzalez said. “I heard it from up here, the dugout going crazy. But when we went into the extra inning, loaded it up again, and Brownie got that walkoff – you couldn’t ask for a better way to go out in style.”
Gonzalez downplayed his ejection. It didn’t affect the broader scope of the game.
“He’s human, I’m human,” Gonzalez said. “We won. Can’t get mad at that.”