MINNEAPOLIS -- It's the 10th inning, 3-3 tie, and the Royals have the potential go-ahead run at second base with one out and Billy Butler at the plate.
Bad time for the Royals' RBI leader to get tossed out of the game. But that's exactly what happened. Butler argued a strike two call too vehemently to suit home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook and he was ejected.
"Obviously, it doesn't look good," Butler said. "Of course, I'd love to hit with two strikes there. I thought I should have still had one strike on me, and obviously that's what we got in an argument about. But that's the game."
"The umpire gave him two warnings to knock it off," manager Ned Yost said.
The count was 2-2 and, with Butler banished, Tony Abreu was sent to replace him. Abreu took a swing and missed, the strikeout charged against Butler. Reliever Glen Perkins went on to get the third out and Alex Gordon, who doubled, was stranded. The Twins went on to win, 4-3, on Denard Span's walk-off double in the 10th.
With Abreu inserted to hit for Butler, Yost was prevented from using Abreu, who has outfield experience, to replace injured Lorenzo Cain later in the inning without giving up the designated hitter slot. Reserve outfielder Jarrod Dyson is also injured. So first baseman Eric Hosmer was used in right field and catcher Brayan Pena took over first base.
"It was one of those things," Butler said. "It was a heated moment. [Estabrook's] got his opinion and I've got mine, and obviously his matters most."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.