CLEVELAND — Indians manager Terry Francona had a rough afternoon.
His team's pitching staff wasn't any better.
The Tampa Bay Rays got 14 hits off Cleveland starter Zach McAllister and four relievers, including home runs by Yunel Escobar and Evan Longoria, in an 11-3 victory over the Indians on Sunday.
If there was a bright side for Francona, he was able to watch part of the defeat from the clubhouse after being ejected in the fifth inning. Home plate umpire Bill Welke tossed Francona before he exited the dugout following a 1-0 pitch to Nick Swisher that appeared to be low and outside.
"I thought his strike zone was inconsistent all day, not just on that one pitch," Francona said. "After the game, I told Bill, 'In fairness to you, I went back and looked at all the pitches, and I feel stronger now than I did when I was yelling at you from the dugout.' "
Francona broke into a small smile and added, "I may have cursed [during the postgame conversation]."
Francona's first ejection of the season included a spirited argument with Welke, who first drew his ire Friday for his work at second base. The skipper ran out of the dugout to confront Welke, indicating with his arms how far outside he believed the pitch to Swisher was.
As he walked off the field, Francona fired a wad of gum to the ground, then yelled at Welke once he returned to the dugout. Bench coach Sandy Alomar, Jr., assumed managing duties for the rest of the game.
"It was a tough day for all of us, but we know Tito has our back," left fielder Michael Brantley said. "Everybody in this locker room has the utmost respect for him, and we know he'll fight for us."
"I respect what Tito did, trying to pump our team up," third baseman Mark Reynolds said. "Unfortunately, sometimes you've got to take your licks out there."
McAllister (4-5) took the loss in his shortest start of 2013, allowing a season-high five runs in 4 1/3 innings.
"Just about every inning, I was battling out of a jam because I didn't have very good command today," McAllister said. "I couldn't get ahead of hitters and it cost me."
Nick Hagadone followed and gave up a two-run homer to Escobar in the sixth, while Rich Hill allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Cleveland closer Chris Perez (right shoulder soreness) has been cleared to resume throwing on Wednesday, but starter Brett Myers (right elbow inflammation) is still 4-5 days away from doing so, according to Francona. Both pitchers are on the 15-day disabled list.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.