MINNEAPOLIS -- It's never expected when a manager gets ejected in a playoff game, but when the Twins' Ron Gardenhire was run by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt in the seventh inning of Game 2, it wasn't exactly a shocker.
The history between the two is not good.
Wendelstedt has ejected Gardenhire multiple times, and there have been at least two public spats between the two -- including a particularly ugly incident in Detroit in August, 2009.
Gardenhire, still livid following the Twins' 5-2 Game 2 loss in the AL Division Series here Thursday during which he was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing a non-strike call to Lance Berkman, insisted the history between the two men had nothing to do with Thursday's ejection.
"Hunter and I talked and we kind of straightened all our stuff away," Gardenhire said tersely. "It has nothing to do with that at all, all right?"
Wendelstedt was not made available to reporters afterward.
Bob Watson, major-league baseball's vice-president for on-field operations, echoed Gardenhire.
"That's in the past," Watson told CBSSports.com regarding whether what appears to be an ongoing feud between Wendelstedt and Gardenhire played into Thursday's incident. "That had nothing to do with tonight.
"That's all squared away. It's non-issue."
Making Wendelstedt available might have helped make that more believable.
As for the Gardenhire-Wendelstedt dust-up in Detroit in 2009, following the ejection, according to Gardenhire at the time, the umpire taunted the manager by asking, "How do you like that?"
"That's the second time I've run into this, with this guy," Gardenhire told reporters after the Aug. 7, 2009, game in Detroit. "He's got an attitude. At home a few years back, he said, 'You're just out here for showtime.' He's got a smart mouth, and tonight was ridiculous, really."
Gardenhire continued: "A lot of the calls [were] no good He had a bad night. He didn't probably think so because he's god, as umpires go. ... I was really disappointed. There was no reason for me to get thrown out of that game."
Speaking to a pool reporter afterward, Wendelstedt said, "Basically, for a manager that has been around for so long, you would think he would understand the way baseball operates, that a warning is a warning."
In what essentially was a must-win Game 2 Thursday night here, the Twins and Yankees were tied at 2-2 when Minnesota starter Carl Pavano issued a walk to Jorge Posada to start the seventh. Then, with the count 1 and 2 on Lance Berkman, Wendelstedt ruled a Pavano sinker ball two when television replays appeared to show it should have been strike three.
On the very next pitch, Berkman ripped a go-ahead double into the left-center gap.
Gardenhire then went out to the mound for a visit with Pavano, Wendelstedt walked to the mound to hurry the game along and, from there, predictably, Gardenhire walked off the mound with Wendelstedt, giving the umpire an earful.
Wendelstedt ejected Gardenhire about the time the two reached home plate.
"I went out to make sure my guys were straight on what we were going to do next and make my side of the story known," Gardenhire said, explaining his trip to the mound with Berkman standing on second, the Twins trailing 3-2, nobody out and Brett Gardner about to bat. "I thought the ball was a strike, he didn't call it a strike and I wanted to make sure he knew that.
"But I wanted to get him away from my guys because there are a lot of guys full of emotion at that time and I wanted Carl to concentrate. I wanted to let [my guys know] they were going to bunt [Berkman] over, and to get the out. That's what I told my guys on the mound, and then I said what I had to say."
The dispute undoubtedly will help catapult the umpires back into the spotlight this postseason. Gardenhire was the second manager ejected on Thursday. Tampa Bay's Joe Maddon was given the heave-ho earlier in the day.