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Martin, Hurdle tossed for arguing balls and strikes

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Martin, Hurdle tossed for arguing balls and strikes play video for Martin, Hurdle tossed for arguing balls and strikes

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates catcher Russell Martin and manager Clint Hurdle were both ejected Sunday by home-plate umpire Ed Hickox following a called third strike in the eighth inning.

With Andrew McCutchen representing the tying run on third base and two outs, Martin was rung up on a 3-2 breaking ball near the inside part and on the bottom portion of the plate. Martin showed his thoughts on the call by slamming his bat and helmet, and Hurdle quickly joined his catcher in giving Hickox an earful.

"With a man on third and [Pedro Alvarez] on deck, I felt it was a tough spot for him to make that call," Martin said. "I feel like I have a pretty good eye at the plate and should've been on first base, and it didn't happen that way.

"Nobody's perfect. I'm sure if [Hickox] looks back at the play, he'll probably think he missed that call. He did the best he could at that moment."

The player who caught that pitch agreed with Martin.

"No, I don't think it was a strike," said Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. "But ... sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't. Ed [Hickox] did a good job behind the plate today, he really did. It's just one of those crazy things that happens. Umpires are human beings, too, and they make mistakes."

It was Martin's first ejection of the season and Hurdle's second. Chris Stewart replaced Martin in the ninth behind the plate and bench coach Jeff Banister took over Hurdle's duties in the final inning.

The Pirates went on to drop the game, 1-0, and also lost the weekend series to first-place Milwaukee.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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