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Kipnis tossed for arguing balls and strikes

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DETROIT -- Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis expressed some frustration in the third inning on Thursday and promptly paid the price.

Following a three-pitch strikeout at the hand of Tigers starter Justin Verlander, Kipnis received his first career ejection from home-plate umpire Lance Barrett. After swinging through a pitch, Kipnis had a few words for Barrett as he walked out of the batter's box.

Barrett immediately ejected Kipnis, who was replaced in the field by Mike Aviles.

"It was the first pitch of the at-bat that I thought was down a little bit, so it got to me," Kipnis said after the 7-5 loss to the Tigers. "It was a short at-bat, so it's still fresh in my head. To that point, we had one of the tougher pitchers on the mound and, with a chance to get him on the ropes there early on, emotions were running a little high.

"I didn't think I showed him up. I didn't try to stand there. I'm not here to show the guy up. I was just walking away and I told him that the first pitch changed the entire at-bat and you don't need to be helping a guy like that out. Obviously, I used a couple words to express [myself], but that's the full sense of what I said."

Indians manager Terry Francona did not have much to say about the topic, other than he was surprised that Kipnis was ejected so quickly. As for the first-pitch strike call, Francona echoed Kipnis' belief that the pitch was low.

"I agree with him," Francona said.

Following the first-pitch strike, which came with the bases loaded and two outs against Verlander, the Indians' All-Star second baseman fouled off the next pitch and then went on to strike out on the third offering from the right-hander.

"I don't think Lance is a bad guy," Kipnis said. "I don't even think he's a bad umpire. I just think he was expanding a little bit there, even before my at-bat. I didn't think he needed to be helping a guy like Verlander out. Emotions were just running high. It was unfortunate how it turned out."

Through 15 games played this season, Kipnis has hit .212 with two home runs, three doubles, seven RBIs, seven runs and three stolen bases for the Indians. On April 4, Kipnis signed a six-year extension worth $52.5 million with Cleveland.

When a reporter mentioned that it was Kipnis' first career ejection, the second baseman smirked.

"It's a celebration tonight back in Cleveland. You're all invited," Kipnis joked. "It's always good to get the first one out of the way. You just go out there and play and relax now. It's going to happen. Sometimes emotions run high in this game. It's going to happen from time to time. Sometimes some good can come from it. You learn from it.

"But at the same time, it's not a good feeling being in the locker room watching the rest of the game and not being able to help the team out."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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