ARLINGTON, Texas – Roy Oswalt didn’t get a decision Thursday, but he definitely left an impression on the game – and on the back of Twins catcher Joe Mauer.
Oswalt hit Mauer with a pitch in the third inning of what eventually became a 10-6 Rangers win.
When Twins starter Scott Diamond send a pitch sailing near the head of the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton in the bottom half of the inning, Diamond was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Wally Bell.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire argued vehemently and was quickly ejected, too.
“Any time in an umpire’s judgement that they go in the head area, we have to take care of business,” Bell said in a quote to a pool reporter. “I felt at the time that he [Diamond] had to be ejected for it.”
Oswalt said he wasn’t trying to hit Mauer. He blamed the errant pitch on a control issue.
“Truthfully, I can’t keep the ball on the left side of the plate,” Oswalt said. “I don’t know if it’s the grip or what. I threw a good pitch on 2-0 that actually stayed there, and I said if I can throw that pitch I can get him to swing at it, I can jam him. It didn’t stay there.”
Rangers manager Ron Washington would not comment on the ejections, but Oswalt said he wasn’t surprised.
“Not really, the ball was up toward his head,” Oswalt said. “I think if it would have been lower there probably would have been warnings. I understand the situation. One of their guys got hit, so they’re trying to throw at one of our guys, or whatever they were doing. You don’t really know.”
What Oswalt does know is that he produced another decent outing in a spot start. This time it was in place of Yu Darvish, who experienced tightness in his right quad during a bullpen session Tuesday and was scratched.
Oswalt pitched 5 1/3 innings and left the game with a 4-2 lead. Reliever Michael Kirkman couldn’t keep two inherited runners from scoring, securing a no-decision for Oswalt.
Oswalt’s record remains 4-2, but the Rangers improved to 6-2 in games he’s started.
“I thought he did a good job,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “In the sixth inning they fought for those at-bats they got and we just couldn’t stop them from scoring right there, but I thought he did a great job. I really did.”
For the second game in a row, Oswalt appeared to be muttering to himself as Washington came out of the dugout to remove him. He didn’t have the same look of disgust as when he was removed in his previous start, choosing to keep his head down as he left the mound.
But Oswalt again did not look at Washington as he handed him the ball. A stoic Oswalt was seen with his arms folded as he watched his lead evaporate.
Oswalt said he hasn’t been told his facial expression and body language have become an issue. He said he was “disgusted” because he couldn’t retire the first two batters in the sixth, giving up back-to-back singles and prompting his removal one batter later.
“It seems like I can’t finish that last inning,” Oswalt said.
Washington seemed to have no issues Oswalt’s performance, or attitude.
“He did well going through five; he was ready to go out there for another inning,” Washington said. “If we could have got him through six innings, it would have really set up real good. But it just didn’t happen.”