Then he flipped out.
Third-base umpire Scott Barry ejected Howard in the bottom of the 14th inning Tuesday night in a 4-2 loss to the Astros in 16 innings at Citizens Bank Park. Howard charged toward Barry, who said he did not check his swing on a third strike, before teammate Placido Polanco and others restrained him.
Howard's actions might earn him a suspension.
His actions definitely led to a bizarre series of events. Ross Gload, who is on the disabled list, was ejected after Howard left the field. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel explained a player on the DL is not allowed to yell at anybody on the field. The Phils, who were out of position players, were forced to move Raul Ibanez from left field to first base, a position he had not played since 2005, and pitcher Roy Oswalt into left field, a place he had never played in his professional career.
Oswalt, who caught a fly ball by Jason Castro in the 15th, was the first Philadelphia pitcher to play in the field since Bill Wilson came in to play third base in the eighth inning on Aug. 6, 1971. The last pitcher to play the field against the Astros was Fernando Valenzuela, who played first base for the Dodgers in a 22-inning game that Houston won, 5-4, on June 3, 1989.
Before Oswalt, the last pitcher to play the field in the Majors was Kyle Lohse, who came in to play left field for the Cardinals in the 18th inning of a 20-inning game on April 17 that the Mets won, 2-1.
"I'm not sure what I think about the whole thing just yet," right fielder Jayson Werth said. "I'm going to take a quick nap here and think about it, [then] come back [Wednesday] refreshed and act like that didn't happen. I know I haven't been playing the game as long as some people, but it's the first I've seen of anything like that. That was just ... I'm not going to say what I want to say. I'm going to sleep on it."
It started when Barry, who is a Triple-A fill-in umpire, said Howard did not check his swing on an 0-1 pitch from Astros right-hander Mark Melancon. Howard did not like the call, and put his hands on his hips. Barry responded by putting his hands on his hips and looking back toward Howard.
Four pitches later, Barry said Howard did not check his swing on a 1-2 pitch, which made Howard chuck his bat in obvious disgust.
Howard left the ballpark before reporters had a chance to ask him about it.
"The last one I definitely didn't think he went," Manuel said.
Barry immediately ejected Howard after he threw his bat, and Howard went off.
Teammates said they had not seen Howard, who's only been ejected from a game one other time in his career, that angry before. The only other time Howard seemed to lose his cool like that is when he nearly got into a fight with Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett in Spring Training 2006, when Beckett did not like how Howard reacted to a home run. Beckett said something to Howard from the dugout. Howard flipped off his glove and basically called Beckett onto the field.
The fight never happened.
Howard never got to Barry on Tuesday, either. He instead pointed angrily at him and said a few choice things to him before finally leaving the field.
"I'm not looking forward to him getting suspended, because he doesn't get thrown out of games and he doesn't argue much and things like that," Manuel said. "We'll wait and see."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.