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Ozzie Guillen kicks off series with ejection

Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen argues with plate umpire James Hoye after getting tossed from game 6th inning Cross Town Classic

Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen argues with plate umpire James Hoye after getting tossed from the game in the 6th inning of the Cross Town Classic series pitting the Chicago Cubs at the Chicago White Sox Monday June 20, 2011 at US Cellular Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 21, 2011 2:13AM

So there was a Venezuelan blowup Monday night in the Cubs-White Sox rivalry, but it wasn’t Carlos Zambrano.

Instead, it was Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

Guillen earned an ejection from home plate umpire James Hoye in the sixth inning after an at-bat involving Alexei Ramirez.

Ramirez hit a pitch that bounced in front of home plate, then spun backward over home plate. Cubs catcher Geovany Soto picked up the ball and tagged out Ramirez, who thought the ball was foul.

Guillen rushed to the defense of his shortstop, pointing to a spot behind the plate where he said the ball landed and kicking Soto’s mask.

“He was right and I was wrong,’’ Guillen said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. “Because I saw what I saw, it’ll cost me $20,000.

“I had that play right in front of me. I use glasses to read and write, but I can still see far. You don’t see me on the field [arguing] that much this year, but I said I won’t ­argue because I’m right.’’

It was the second ejection for Guillen this season and 27th in his career.

“I think he thought it was foul, but the ump saw where I caught it,’’ Soto said. “I caught it at the tip of the plate. It was a good play.’’

The Sox saw what their manager did and Paul Konerko said he was “pretty sure’’ it was a foul ball.

Ramirez was adamant about it.

“I felt the umpire was calling me out on interference, but he called me out even though the ball was way behind home plate,’’ Ramirez said. “I ended up showing the umpire where the ball ended up hitting.

“I don’t speak English very well, but I knew when Ozzie was coming out he ­understood what I was saying,’’ Ramirez said, adding Guillen’s vehemence was a good thing “not only for myself but for the whole team to see that your coach has your back.’’

The incident was the most emotional in a game that seemed oddly without the usual boiling-points.

“I was saying to [bench coach] Joey [Cora] it seemed like another game,’’ Guillen said.

Guillen’s moment was reminiscent of the bygone Lou Piniella era, with his mask- kick drawing a roar from the crowd of 36,005.

“I thought it was funny,’’ Soto said.

“The look on Soto’s face when he got his face mask kicked — that was priceless,’’ Konerko said. “We were in [the clubhouse] watching it and we just shook our heads, like ‘Oh my god, did he just kick his face mask?’ Ozzie was pretty hot.’’

Cubs manager Mike Quade wondered why Soto was laughing. “Damn, that makes me mad — I missed the drop kick,’’ he said.

“If it was 20 years ago, I would have broke my toe,’’ Guillen said, “but now they make those masks so light, I didn’t even feel it.’’

Guillen’s frustration may have been building after watching starter Gavin Floyd give up a 3-0 lead by allowing two runs in the third and four in the sixth on a Starlin Castro solo homer and a Carlos Pena three-run shot.

“I think he seemed a little down in the fifth and started losing his command,’’ Guillen said of Floyd.

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