Angels' Weaver ejected for buzzing Avila
Ace righty tossed for purpose pitch after Guillen admires homer
DETROIT -- With the Tigers' Justin Verlander working on a no-hitter through seven innings -- which would be broken up two outs later by Maicer Izturis -- bad blood boiled over in the bottom of the seventh on Sunday at Comerica Park. Angels ace Jered Weaver was ejected for throwing a pitch up and in to Alex Avila following a solo homer by Carlos Guillen that gave Detroit a 3-0 lead on its way to a 3-2 victory.
Guillen stood and admired his second homer of the season as it arced toward the right-field seats. When he finally began his home-run trot, he flipped his bat and did a take-off on Rickey Henderson's old dance out of the batter's box, and it certainly caught Weaver's attention.
"He was yelling earlier to Magglio when he hit the home run, 'You have to run the bases,'" Guillen said of Weaver's reaction earlier in the game. "Sometimes pitchers, they don't like to get hit. It's part of the game."
Home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt went to the mound to warn Weaver and both dugouts after Guillen finally circled the bases. Weaver wasted no time showing what he thought of the warning -- or of Guillen showing him up, in his mind. Weaver threw the next pitch at Avila's head and was immediately ejected from the game.
"Whether or not I didn't like something [Guillen] did, I'm not someone to try to hurt somebody," Weaver said, "I tried to throw a fastball in, and it got away from me. I'm not trying to hurt anybody."
Weaver was yelling towards the Detroit dugout as he angrily walked off the mound and headed to the dugout.
"I'm a competitor," Weaver said. "I've never tried to show anybody up. If that's the way they want to play, it is what it is. I didn't appreciate it very much."
In the third inning, Ordonez also had watched a home run fly toward left for a 2-0 Tigers lead. In that case, however, there was some question whether it would be fair or foul.
Weaver watched Ordonez make his home-run trot and commented on it as he circled the bases. Ordonez's response was that he was waiting got see if it was fair and at his advanced baseball age, he can't run very fast any more.
"I went inside, I saw the home run and he got mad, but that's part of the game," Ordonez said. "In baseball, there are home runs and anything can happen in baseball, so if you get mad because someone hit a home run against you, you've got to take it like a man."
Weaver said he felt it was "water under the bridge" when he retired Ordonez without incident in his next at-bat. Tigers manager Jim Leyland doubted Ordonez was showing up Weaver.
"I've never seen Magglio Ordonez show anybody up in the six years I've been here," Leyland said. "I've never seen it. So I doubt he was doing that today."
When Guillen went deep for just his second homer of the season, there was no doubt that it was going out.
Guillen apparently didn't appreciate Weaver's reaction to Ordonez's home run.
"I've never done that before like that," Guillen said of milking his home run. "The way he reacted to Magglio, he's my teammate. We're a team."
The Angels' Bobby Abreu, who shares Venezuelan roots with Guillen and Ordonez, took issue only with Guillen's theatrics.
"I don't agree with Guillen," Abreu said. "Magglio, he always does that with a homer. That's OK. But Guillen went too far.
"We did respect Verlander for the no-no [bid]. We broke it with a clean hit. If we respect the game, they should, too."
Leading off the top of the eighth inning after Weaver was ejected, Erick Aybar tried to break up the no-hitter with a bunt, an approach considered in some quarters a breach of baseball etiquette. Verlander threw wildly past first, and it was ruled a two-base error when Aybar reached second.
"That's a great play on Erick's part and should have been a hit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Fans might be emotional, but it's a great baseball play. If the game's 10-0, it's a different situation. We're trying to get the tying run to the plate, and you get a runner on any way you can."
While Leyland had no problem with the bunt, Verlander understood both arguments, but being a pitcher, he wasn't a fan of the decision.
"Obviously, from a pitching standpoint, that's kind of -- we like to call it bush league," Verlander said. "But there are arguments for both sides of it. It's a three-run game; if you get a guy on base, you never know what can happen."
Did Aybar think he deserved a hit on the bunt?
"It was close," Aybar said. "It could have gone either way."
Aybar moved up on Mark Trumbo's infield out and scored when the Tigers mishandled a rundown on Peter Bourjos' grounder to third baseman Don Kelly.
Verlander and Aybar came together at home plate, and Verlander didn't appreciate an apparent elbow to the chest.
"I didn't even realize he did that until I started walking back to the mound and I felt a little something in my chest," Verlander said. [I thought,] 'That little guy, he threw an elbow at me.' I didn't feel it at first, and it didn't bother me at all."
Verlander shouted at Aybar from the dugout after the inning, pointing to his back.
"That's my game," Aybar said when asked about the bunt. "[Verlander] told me, `I'm going to get you next year.' I don't care. He pitched good today."
Bourjos advanced to second and scored, making it a one-run game, when Izturis -- a .400 career hitter in 25 at-bats against Verlander -- stroked his single to left, breaking up the no-hitter. But Verlander struck out Torii Hunter to end the inning, and Jose Valverde clinched the win for the Tigers in the ninth.
When asked if he was yelling at Aybar because of the bunt or the elbow, Verlander said it was a combination of the two.
"We're both men," Verlander said. "This game has a tendency to work things out on their own. There's no need to do or say anything drastic at this point in time, especially in a game like this."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.