With the Phillies' remote wild-card chances being further vaporized Sunday, Bryce Harper and Gabe Kapler got ejected in the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox.
Harper didn't agree with a called third strike from home-plate umpire Gabe Morales. After expressing his displeasure, Harper returned to the dugout and appeared to continue hollering at Morales, who booted him from the game.
Kapler charged onto the field to defend Harper got immediately tossed. Before leaving the field, Kapler gestured emphatically at Morales.
The Phillies were trailing 5-1 at the time. Left-hander Jason Vargas, who entered with a 5.01 ERA and no wins in eight starts since being acquired in a July 29 trade with the New York Mets, gave up a grand slam to Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez in the third inning.
It marked Harper’s 13th career ejection and second of the season. The other came in New York on April 22, also over a called third strike. After that game, a 5-1 loss to the Mets, Phillies starter Jake Arrieta criticized the star right fielder for losing his cool.
"He's got to understand we need him in right field," Arrieta said. "I don't care how bad the umpire is. He wasn't great for either side. I'm out there trying to make pitches, and he misses some calls. So what? We need him out there. I need him in right field, I need him at the plate, and he wasn’t there. So that hurts."
Harper concurred with Arrieta, saying that the ejection "can't happen from my side. In a game like that against the Mets, division rival, it just can't happen for me, myself and this team as well."