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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 3:36 p.m., Saturday, May 26, 2007

Braves' Cox nears career record — for ejections

By Charles Odum
Associated Press

ATLANTA — After being tossed from a game for the second straight day on Saturday, Bobby Cox was in no mood to talk about where he stands on the career record for ejections.

"I don't want to talk about the record," Cox said. "Talk about the game."

Cox's ejection was his fifth of the season and the 130th of his career, leaving him only one behind John McGraw's record of 131.

Cox already has the record for most ejections by a manager, since 14 of McGraw's ejections came as a player.

Cox would have to dramatically alter the tone of his encounters with umpires to avoid matching and passing McGraw's mark, but he was more concerned with his team's two straight losses to the Phillies, including Saturday's 6-4 defeat.

"We can't play much better," Cox said. "We've been rallying, we just didn't pull it off the last two nights."

Cox didn't last the third inning.

After Kelly Johnson led off the third with a double, Willie Harris hit a grounder over first base that landed near the foul line. First base umpire Ron Kulpa immediately called the ball foul.

TV replays showed the ball landing just on the foul side of the line, but as Cox pointed to the mark on the ground his argument was that the ball had to have been fair when it crossed first base.

"Oh, yeah, it was fair," Cox said. "We're losing 4-1 at the time. I thought it was big."

Cox was thrown out of the game soon after he came on the field to argue the call.

Cox continued to argue for a few minutes before leaving the field to a loud ovation.

Kulpa also tossed John Smoltz as Smoltz yelled at the umpire from the dugout. Smoltz, who recorded his 200th career win on Thursday night, was not pitching Saturday.

Smoltz said of his three career ejections, this was the first time he had been thrown out of a game from the dugout.

"You can go ask him what I said because I didn't say anything to warrant getting thrown out," Smoltz said. "Not one bit. I told him he missed the call. Next thing I know, I'm thrown out. Pretty weak. But maybe he's having a bad day."