TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays not only lost back-to-back games to the Tampa Bay Rays, they will likely lose third baseman Brett Lawrie to suspension.
Lawrie's batting helmet hit an umpire during his ninth-inning outburst in the Jays' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old threw his helmet to the ground and it bounced up and hit home plate umpire Bill Miller on the right hip after Lawrie was called out on strikes for the second out.
Lawrie was restrained from going after the umpire and was ejected, as was manager John Farrell.
Lawrie admitted that his helmet "might have" hit Miller.
"That was not my intention at all," the native of Langley, B.C., said. "I've never, ever done anything to go at an umpire in my life and I didn't mean to tonight. I apologize for that. It just kind of took an unlucky bounce and I think I got him so my apologies for that."
The umpire also was hit by a beer thrown from the stands as he left the field.
"I'm not going to say I haven't had a dispute (with an umpire)," Lawrie said. "But I've never thrown anything or gotten ever close to an umpire like that, or ever put an umpire in danger. It's not what I'm out there to do. It's just my passion for the game and I wanted to help my teammates out as best I could."
Farrell was ejected when he continued to argue with Miller following Lawrie's ejection.
"I felt the bat was taken completely out of Brett's hand," Farrell said. "Not only the 3-1 pitch but the 3-2 pitch as well. Those are not strikes, evident by the reaction of obviously Brett and myself. It was a tough ballgame to lose."
Miller said he has already filed his report with MLB about the incident.
"Upon seeing that he was ejected, he took several steps toward me and fired his helmet. It hit me in the right hip," Miller said.
"That's a bit extreme," Miller said.
The victory gave the Rays a sweep of the two-game series. And for the second game in a row, the Rays took advantage of leaky Blue Jays' defence.
"You give them extra outs, you see what that can lead to," Farrell said.
After Sean Rodriguez led off the seventh with his third home run to cut the Blue Jays lead to 3-2, the Rays scored two more unearned runs in the inning to take the lead. The Blue Jays made four errors in the game.
The Rays scored five unearned runs in a six-run fifth inning their 7-1 win on Monday.
"Errors on the field are going to happen," Farrell said. "We're well aware of the situations that are taking place on the field. But the physical things they're going to happen and we're in a little bit of a rut in terms of the physical errors that being made on the field."
David Price (6-2) pitched seven innings to improve his record to 5-0 in six career starts at Rogers Centre while Henderson Alvarez (3-3) had his three-game winning streak end as he allowed four runs (two earned) in 6 2/3 innings. Price is 11-2 in 14 career starts against the Blue Jays.
It was the third loss in a row for Toronto, (19-18) which returned on Monday from a 5-5 trip.
The frustration boiled over in the ninth. With one out against Fernando Rodney who picked up his 11th save, Lawrie took a 3-1 pitch and started to run to first base. Miller called it a strike.
"I was just trying to get on base for my teammates and it ended up going against me," Lawrie said.
Lawrie said he was not sure if the umpire felt that he had shown him up.
"That's totally not the way the way I wanted to come across," he said. "I just thought it was ball four and dropped my bat and started running because it was kind of a late call. I wasn't going to stand there and just wait for him to see if he made the call."
When the next pitch also was called a strike, Lawrie went into a rage and threw his helmet to the ground.
"I think it was the point of the game," Lawrie said.
"You look at the point of the game, how we went out ahead and then they came back and we wanted to win that game.
"I come up and tried to work the count to get on base for my teammates and hopefully get on base, move up a base and hopefully score and tie the game up and that's what I was out there to do."
When Farrell was asked if he was concerned about a suspension to Lawrie, he said: "I'm sure that will be reviewed by the league."
The Blue Jays scored three runs in the third, one on a single by Jose Bautista and two on Edwin Encarnacion's 12th homer of the season.
Tampa Bay (23-14) scored once in the fifth when Will Rhymes led off with a single and came home on Ben Zobrist's bloop two-out double to centre.
After Rodriguez homered in the seventh, Rhymes singled and took second on shortstop Yunel Escobar's error on a grounder by Jose Molina. Johnson singled and Rhymes came home on an error charged to left-fielder Rajai Davis. Zobrist lined a single off the glove of second baseman Kelly Johnson to load the bases and Molina scored when B.J. Upton grounded into a double play.
The Rays, who are without third baseman Evan Longoria because of a torn hamstring, finished an eight-game trip at 4-4.
"We could have easily gone 1-7 on this road trip,"Price said. "I feel like that was a pretty good road trip for us, especially with us dealing with the injuries that we're dealing with right now."