Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber ejects David Wright for arguing...

Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber ejects David Wright for arguing a called third strike for in the bottom of the ninth inning at Citi Field, Sunday. (May 9, 2010) Credit: AP

Anger simmered just below the surface as David Wright spoke. His responses, terse at times, seeped exasperation and annoyance.

Perhaps it was a visceral reaction to the inquiries about his recent struggles. Perhaps it was just leftover irritation reserved for plate umpire Paul Schrieber.

With the tying run on second base and none out in the bottom of the ninth Sunday, Wright was called out looking on a 94-mph fastball from Giants closer Brian Wilson. Wright, thinking the 3-and-2 pitch was inside, took a quick step toward first before getting in Schrieber's face, waving his pink bat with emphatic displeasure. The usually mild-mannered third baseman immediately was ejected.

"We disagreed,'' he said, "and it was a big spot for us."

His ejection, however, left the Mets in a vulnerable position. Jerry Manuel had used every position player available. Had the Mets forced extra innings, he would have had to use a pitcher in the field.

But Manuel was never forced to make that decision, as Wilson struck out Ike Davis and Jeff Francoeur on nine pitches to end the game.

"Obviously, I wasn't thinking about that at the time," Wright said. "It was more reactionary. You don't want to put yourself or the team in a position like that. So, lesson learned."

Wright has struck out in his last eight official at-bats but did hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh to give the Mets their first lead (5-4). He said his reaction to the called third strike had nothing to do with residual frustration stemming from his recent struggles.

"You're going to go through ups and downs,'' said Wright, who struck out four times. "Hopefully, I'll get back to swinging the bat well. You want to go up there and string together some good at-bats. But it hasn't happened the last couple of days. Just keep plugging away and working at it until it does happen."

Manuel said he didn't take issue with Wright's reaction to Schrieber's call. "He felt very strongly that that was a ball," the manager said. "When you are in a situation like that, the club is fighting and scratching and clawing, the intensity is high. You've got an RBI sitting out there at second base; you've got some frustration there, I'm sure.

"I don't think he would have done that knowing all the things that surrounded it. But that's just part of the fight sometimes."

Wright entered the three-game series batting .286 with a nine-game hitting streak but went 1-for-10 with eight strikeouts. He has struck out 41 times in 108 at-bats this season.

"It's a combination of me not seeing the ball that well right now and facing some good pitching, so it's two-sided," he said. "Pitchers make good pitches, especially when you're not feeling that good at the plate, chances are you're not going to be that successful."

With Arthur Staple