ST. PETERSBURG -- It took until the 92nd game of 2012, but Rays manager Joe Maddon picked up his first ejection of the season on Wednesday.
Home plate umpire Dan Iassonga tossed the skipper in the top of the seventh inning, which featured a five-run rally for the Indians that keyed a comeback win.
The call in question came with Jake McGee on the mound against Jason Kipnis, a runner on third and two outs on the board. On a 1-2 count, McGee threw a pitch that possibly hit the outer edge of the strike zone and would have ended the inning, but Iassonga called the pitch a ball.
Kipnis would pick up an RBI single that tied the game, bringing out Maddon to argue balls and strikes.
"What I saw was the catcher's mitt never moved, the pitch was right there," Maddon said. It was definitely high enough, and the way [Jose Lobaton] caught it, I definitely thought it was over the plate. And that's strike three ... Danny Iassonga's a good umpire, he missed that call -- absolutely blew that call -- and that's a big play in tonight's game."
Maddon's patience of Iassonga was tested a half-inning earlier in the bottom of the sixth with Matt Joyce batting. With one on and one out, Esmil Rogers threw a pitch down and away from Joyce that Iassonga called a third strike.
"I really like Dan Iassonga, I think he's a great umpire, he's a great guy," Maddon said. "But I gotta stand up for my guys. Those are really not appropriate calls in those moments whether it was for Matt, and furthermore with Jake right there. That can't happen. Such an obviously good pitch cannot be called a ball under those circumstances."
Despite the controversial calls, Maddon said after the game his team still made mistakes and didn't execute in other aspects of the game, resulting in the 10-6 loss.
Greg Zeck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.