Brett Lawrie slammed his batting helmet to the ground and it ricocheted into plate umpire Bill Miller as the ninth inning turned nasty Tuesday in Toronto's 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay.
Lawrie was ejected for arguing after he struck out looking in the Blue Jays' ninth. Lawrie took several steps toward Miller, wound up with his right arm and threw down his helmet. The helmet bounced up and struck Miller around the right hip - a suspension from Major League Baseball is all but certain.
Toronto manager John Farrell came out to restrain his 22-year-old third baseman, who's in his first full season in the majors. After Lawrie returned to the dugout, Farrell was ejected for arguing the call.
Miller was then hit by a drink thrown by a fan as he headed off the field after the game. Police and stadium security were seen pointing into the crowd after an exchange between fans and umpires as the crew headed off the field through the visitor's dugout.
David Price won for the fifth time in six starts, Sean Rodriguez homered and the Rays rallied from a 3-0 deficit.
Price, coming off a loss at the New York Yankees, continued his mastery of the Blue Jays. The left-hander is 11-2 with a 2.26 ERA in 14 career starts against Toronto, including a 5-0 mark in six starts north of the border.
Price (6-2) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, ending his outing by retiring 12 of the final 13 batters he faced. He struck out six with no walks.
Joel Peralta worked the eighth and Fernando Rodney closed it out in the ninth to remain perfect in 11 save opportunities.
Edwin Encarnacion homered for the Blue Jays, who made a season-high four errors.
Toronto has lost three straight and seven of 10.
Not all Toronto's defense was poor. Encarnacion fell into the seats to catch B.J. Upton's foul popup in the first, and left fielder Rajai Davis threw out Ben Zobrist at the plate to end the third with a strong one-hop throw to catcher Jeff Mathis.
Having helped keep the Rays off the scoreboard, Davis promptly helped put the Blue Jays on it, leading off the bottom half with an infield single, taking second on a throwing error by shortstop Elliot Johnson, stealing third and scoring on a two-out single by Jose Bautista. Encarnacion followed with a first-pitch homer to center, his 12th of the season.
The Rays got their comeback started in the fifth when Will Rhymes led off with a single and scored on Zobrist's two-out double, a ball that dropped in front of Toronto center fielder Colby Rasmus, who broke back on the play and couldn't recover.
Tampa Bay took the lead and chased Blue Jays starter Henderson Alvarez with a three-run seventh, taking advantage of two Toronto errors.
Rodriguez led off with his third homer, a drive to center, and Rhymes followed with a single. Jose Molina hit a grounder to short, but both runners were safe when shortstop Yunel Escobar fumbled the ball. Johnson followed with a single to left that Davis dropped for the second error, allowing Rhymes to score without a throw. Zobrist singled off the glove of second baseman Kelly Johnson, loading the bases for Upton, who grounded into a double play that brought Molina home with the tiebreaking run. That was it for Alvarez, with Darren Oliver coming on to strike out Matt Joyce, stranding Johnson at third.
Alvarez (3-3), who came in having won his past three starts, allowed four runs, two earned, and a career-high 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings. He had one strikeout and no walks.
NOTES: The Rays placed RHP Jeff Niemann (fractured right leg) on the 15-day DL and recalled RHP Josh Lueke from Triple-A Durham. The 6-foot-9 Niemann is using a pair of crutches borrowed from the NBA's Toronto Raptors. ... Rays manager Joe Maddon said minor leaguers Alex Cobb and Chris Archer are candidates to start when Niemann's turn in the rotation comes up next for Saturday's game against Atlanta. ... Rays OF/DH Hideki Matsui played his first game at Triple-A Durham Tuesday night, batting fourth. He went hitless in four at-bats and struck out once.