DETROIT -- Gerald Laird was getting his first start in a week on Sunday, giving Alex Avila a rare day off. Jim Leyland was managing a big opportunity at a series sweep of the Indians.
By the end of the second inning, Laird and Leyland were both gone, thanks to two separate ejections contesting one slide at first base. Nearly four hours later, after the Tigers had finished off their walk-off victory, Laird was still unhappy about the call that got him ejected.
"Be accountable for your position," Laird said. "That's all I've got to say."
Two different umpires made the ejections. Laird's ejection came from first-base umpire Sam Holbrook, who called Laird out when he tried to slide around pitcher Chris Seddon's tag on a ground ball in the second inning. Replay suggested Seddon missed Laird on his swipe and didn't make contact until Laird had reached the bag.
Laird bounced up immediately after the call and pointed as he yelled something at Holbrook. He was back in the dugout, however, when Holbrook ejected him.
"Obviously, I think he missed it," Laird said. "I was just upset. Did I say anything from the dugout? No, I did not say a word. Did I give a hand gesture? Maybe, a little bit. But what are you watching, the game or the hand gestures?"
Leyland jogged out of the dugout after that and seemingly asked for a clarification from Holbrook. He appeared satisfied with the explanation and was heading back to the dugout when home-plate umpire Joe West started pointing at Justin Verlander, who had also been yelling from the dugout.
West and Verlander have a history dating back to a contentious start last summer in Anaheim. West, the first-base umpire in that game, had ejected Verlander on his way off the mound when he was being pulled for a reliever anyway.
West's warning to Verlander on Sunday caught the ire of Leyland, who turned around again and started arguing with West. That dispute lasted a few seconds before West handed Leyland his fourth ejection of the season.
"It's no big deal whatsoever," Leyland said of his ejection. "I didn't curse, nothing. It was just one of those freak things. I basically told him, 'Just umpire the game and let the players play.' He didn't want to hear that."
Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon replaced Leyland for the rest of the game. Avila replaced Laird behind the plate. With Don Kelly designated for assignment on Friday and Ryan Raburn placed on the disabled list on Sunday morning, it was unclear who was the Tigers' emergency catcher if something happened to Avila. The most likely candidate was utility infielder Ramon Santiago.
"Alex picked me up," Laird said. "I feel bad for him, because it was his day off. But you know what, I'm passionate about the game. I busted my tail that 90 feet, and I thought I beat it out. But for the most part, I feel bad for Alex, because it's his day off, and I'm supposed to give him the day off, and I only lasted two innings."
Leyland's last ejection in Boston back in May drew attention for his postgame rant on the umpiring that was caught on camera by NESN. There were no such comments this time.