Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected for using pine tar less than two weeks after appearing to get away with using a foreign substance in another game against Boston, and the Red Sox beat New York 5-1 on Wednesday night.
The right-hander was thrown out in the second inning when plate umpire Gerry Davis found the substance on the right side of Pineda's neck after Red Sox manager John Farrell asked him to check. Pineda walked from the mound without protest.
Both Pineda and Davis said it was pine tar.
"When it's that obvious, something has got to be said," Farrell explained after the game. "Our awareness was heightened, given what we had seen in the past."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Pineda and the organization were "embarrassed."
Pineda (2-2) had nothing on the right side of his neck in a photo of him on the mound in his tough first inning, when four of the first six batters reached on hits. He said he put it on to get a better grip on the ball.
Another photo taken in the second showed a shiny horizontal substance on his upper neck below his right ear. After Pineda struck out the first two batters and had a 1-2 count on Grady Sizemore, Farrell talked to Davis. The umpire went to the mound, looked at the ball then touched the substance on Pineda's neck with his right index finger. Then he gestured with that same finger, indicating Pineda's ejection.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi called it "an error in judgment" and a "little bump" and "poor judgment."
"He had a hard time gripping the baseball. Unknown to us, he put it on and went out there," Girardi said. "It's a young kid. I don't think he's trying to do anything, cheat. I think he's just trying to go out there and compete."
Rule 8.02(b) says a pitcher shall not "have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game. In addition, the pitcher shall be suspended automatically."
"We will talk to the umpires tomorrow and review their report before taking any action," Major League Baseball spokesman Michael Teevan said.
In recent suspensions of pitchers for pine tar, Tampa Bay's Joel Peralta was penalized eight games in 2012, the Los Angeles Angels' Brendan Donnelly 10 days in 2005 and St. Louis' Julian Tavarez 10 days in 2004. The suspensions of Donnelly and Tavarez were cut to eight days after they asked the players' association to appeal, and Peralta dropped his challenge with no reduction.
In Pineda's previous start against the Red Sox, a 4-1 Yankees win in New York on April 10, television cameras caught Pineda with what appeared to be sticky pine tar on his hand on a cool night. Farrell didn't see a photograph of Pineda's hand until the fourth inning; when Pineda came out to warm up for the fifth, his hand was clean.
Pineda said the dark substance was dirt but it sparked debate about pitchers' use of sticky substances to get a better grip on cool nights.
On Wednesday, with the game time temperature at 50 degrees, Sizemore started the first with a triple and scored on Dustin Pedroia's single. With one out, Mike Napoli singled Pedroia to third. After Mike Carp flied to left, A.J. Pierzynski singled up the middle, scoring Pedroia.
After Pineda's ejection, David Phelps came in and completed the strikeout of Sizemore.
John Lackey (3-2) allowed one run and seven hits in eight innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks. Koji Uehara struck out three in the ninth in a non-save situation.
The previous time Lackey faced the Yankees he allowed four homers in a 7-2 loss on April 12. On Wednesday, he struck out the side in the third then had two strikeouts in each of the next two innings.
Mike Napoli had three hits and Boston scored two runs in the first and two more in the third. The Yankees scored on Alfonso Soriano's sacrifice fly in the sixth.