Originally created 06/04/06

Frustrated Atlanta loses it when calls go other way



ATLANTA - To say that the Braves' current homestand has been frustrating might be an understatement.

The club came into Turner Field on a roll, having gone 6-3 on a nine-game road trip.

Things changed when the team came back to Atlanta. They promptly dropped four of the first five games of the homestand.

So when some of the Braves found themselves confused, even bewildered, by the calls of home-plate umpire Dana DeMuth on Saturday, it came out.

Manager Bobby Cox was ejected, for the fifth time this year and the 121st game of his career, in the first inning after a called third strike against Chipper Jones.

Jones, the fans and first baseman Adam LaRoche also expressed their displeasure with calls at different points of the game. A few Diamondbacks also disagreed with calls.

LaRoche was visibly upset when he was called out on strikes with Andruw Jones on first with two outs in the ninth.

After the game, LaRoche questioned some of the eight strikeouts picked up by Enrique Gonzalez, the rookie making his second start for the Diamondbacks.

"I don't know how many of those are legit," LaRoche said. "He had some help, for some reason, behind the plate. I guess we weren't the only ones who couldn't pick up the ball. ...

"I know (umpires) screw up. They're all going to make mistakes, but he had quite a few today."

After the game, Braves starter John Smoltz appeared close to criticizing DeMuth, referring to one batter in the first inning where "I got him out, but I didn't."

But he shied away a few moments later when asked more directly about the officiating.

"Let's just say it was an odd game," he said.

Reach Brandon Larrabee at (404) 681-1701 or brandon.larrabee@morris.com.