Buffalo Bisons pitcher Adam Miller and manager Torey Lovullo started their All-Star break earlier than expected when they were ejected by plate umpire Josh Carlisle in the third inning of an 8-2 loss Sunday to the Durham Bulls.
Miller's inning was already as shaky as boxer Wladimir Klitschko sitting on a card table when he gave up a bases-clearing double to Chris Richard. Miller then plunked Joel Guzman in the ribs and Carlisle gave him the heave-ho. Lovullo sprinted out the dugout to argue but Carlisle apparently wasn't in the mood for quarrelling and thumbed Lovullo almost immediately.
Bubbie Buzachero came on in relief of Miller and hitting coach Dave Myers took over for Lovullo with the Bisons trailing, 5-1.
"That might be my new world's record," said Lovullo on being tossed so quickly. "I was very unhappy from the moment that play took place and I wanted to make sure that [Carlisle] knew that."
Lovullo said Carlisle told him Miller threw inside with the intention of hitting Guzman.
"I said what I think I needed to say," Lovullo said. "Whether I agree with it or not, it was not in my hands but it was one of those situations where I think the umpire made the wrong decision. . . . His explanation was, 'Torey, I know he was throwing at him,' "
Miller said he was trying to throw inside, but the plunk was inadvertent.
"I went a little too far in and got him," Miller said. "I was kind of surprised by the ejection. [Carlisle] didn't say anything to me, he just tossed me and that was it."
Miller (4-2) has generally lorded over the mound against International League hitters this season, which made Sunday's outing even more shocking. The most earned runs he allowed in an outing this season was four in five innings against Toledo on April 20. But before he was tossed after 2 2/3 innings, Durham undressed Miller for five runs on four hits.
"They kind of got a couple of hits, nothing too great, then I got a little wild I guess you could say and walked two guys," Miller said. "Then they got the one big hit and pretty much turned it around."
Miller, the top prospect in the Cleveland farm system, was scheduled to pitch four innings or 65 pitches. He has been nursing a sprained tendon on the middle finger of his pitching hand since May 12.
Miller completely stymied the Bulls for two innings. His fastball popped like firecrackers, and he located it with the accuracy of a GPS system. Miller threw 10 pitches in the first inning and struck out leadoff man Ben Zobrist and later Justin Ruggiano to retire the side. Miller needed only eight pitches in the second inning.
"He was every effective in the windup, his stuff was electric," Lovullo said. "He got into the stretch and it looked like he lost a little balance and lost a little command. The key for Adam right now is building up some strength, build up his pitch count."
Infielder Luis Rivas and Ryan Mulhern, the Bisons representatives in the 20th Triple-A All-Star Game, were given Sunday off. The game is at 7:35 p.m., Wednesday in Albuquerque, N.M. (ESPN2). Mulhern leads the team in batting average (.319), homers (12) and RBIs (50), while Rivas is second on the team in runs (41) and homers (nine).