Phillies edged by Mets as drama, ejection kick off season series

Phillies edged by Mets as drama, ejection kick off season series


The New York Mets hit 34 home runs in 19 games against the Phillies last season.

The most dramatic one came late at night on Sept. 22 when Asdrubal Cabrera smoked a three-run, walk-off homer against Edubray Ramos to give the Mets a 9-8 win in 11 innings at Citi Field.

Cabrera celebrated like a lottery winner as the ball jetted through the New York City night. He delivered a two-handed bat flip and raised his arms in triumph as Ramos began the lonely walk to the Phillies clubhouse after what turned out to be his final pitch of the 2016 season.

Ramos must have stewed about Cabrera's home run and reaction all winter because when he came face to face with Cabrera as the Mets and Phillies renewed their rivalry on Monday night, he did something about it.

Something that manager Pete Mackanin did not like.

Something that contributed to the Phillies' losing, 4-3, to the Mets (see Instant Replay).

With one out in the eighth inning of a tie ballgame, Ramos fired a 96-mph fastball over Cabrera's head. Cabrera was stunned. He straightened up, glared at Ramos and shouted, "What the hell are your doing?" Tempers began to simmer and Mackanin was actually ejected from the game. But order was restored quickly and Ramos continued to pitch to Cabrera with a warning from the umpire. Ramos ended up walking Cabrera and two batters later Jay Bruce swatted a two-run homer against Joely Rodriguez to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. Brock Stassi's first big-league hit, a solo homer in the ninth, tightened the score, and the Phils had the tying run at the plate before Mets closer Addison Reed retired Cesar Hernandez and Howie Kendrick to end the game.

It was the Mets' 27th win over the Phillies in 39 games since the start of the 2015 season.

After the game, Mackanin was critical of Ramos.

"There might have been [some history between the two]," Mackanin said. "There probably was. But I don't think about that over the course of the game. I'm trying to win the game. If he did, in fact, do that intentionally for whatever reason, we don't play that way. I don't play that way. It's inappropriate, especially in a tie game in the eighth inning."

Through a team translator, Ramos said the pitch "got away" and was not intentional. He said the home run that Cabrera hit last year was "in the past." Asked if Cabrera's celebratory reaction at the time upset him, Ramos admitted, "Yeah, a little, but again that was last year."

Ramos and Cabrera are both from Venezuela, but don't know each other.

In fact, after the game, Cabrera said he did not even know Ramos was the same guy he hit his walk-off homer against last September.

"I just found out now," Cabrera said in the postgame clubhouse.

"What happened last year was last year. I think when you hit a homer to win the game … I just enjoyed that homer. If you want to hit somebody, you've got to make sure to throw the ball down, not to the head."

Mackanin said he would speak with Ramos on Tuesday.

Given the skipper's distaste for Ramos' actions, he probably won't tell the pitcher the next time he decides to make a statement, he can't walk the hitter. Walks hurt the Phils in this one. There was the one to Cabrera that preceded Bruce's tie-breaking homer in the eighth. And there was one to Bruce by Jerad Eickhoff that turned into the tying run in the seventh.

Eickhoff pitched another strong game -- seven innings, two runs -- and got little run support. He gave up a solo home run to Bruce in the fourth inning. That home run cut the Phils' lead in half. They scored twice against Jacob deGrom in the first inning and were looking at more until Stassi grounded into a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded.

"It would've been nice to [hit my first homer] in the first inning, for sure, and blow this thing open," Stassi said. "I'd never seen deGrom and he threw me a good changeup."

The Phillies and Mets play 18 more times this season, including Tuesday and Wednesday night, and three times next week in New York.

Ramos' message pitch that he says wasn't a message pitch surely fired up the Mets on Monday night. Will the heat linger?

"Of course it's going to fire them up," Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp said. "But it needs to go away now."

While Phils' search continues, Red Sox get their guy, Mets appear to too

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While Phils' search continues, Red Sox get their guy, Mets appear to too

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox have hired Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora to be their new manager.

The team made the announcement on Sunday, a day after Cora's Astros reached the World Series.

Cora replaces John Farrell, who was fired this month despite winning back-to-back AL East titles. Farrell's teams won the 2013 World Series, finished last twice and then in each of the past two years won the division but got eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

A native of Puerto Rico, Cora is the first Hispanic manager in Red Sox history.

He played 14 years in the major leagues before retiring in 2011, including parts of four seasons with the Red Sox. He was a member of Boston's 2007 World Series team.

Cora has never managed before.

Reports: Mets offer manager job to Indians coach Callaway
NEW YORK — It appears the New York Mets have settled on their choice for a manager.

Several media outlets are reporting the team has offered the job to Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway. The New York Post was the first to report the Mets were in talks with Callaway, saying a deal is being finalized.

When contacted Sunday, multiple Mets officials declined to comment.

With his contract set to expire, Terry Collins stepped down at the end of the season after seven years as Mets manager and accepted a position as a special assistant to general manager Sandy Alderson.

The 42-year-old Callaway has been Cleveland's pitching coach for the past five seasons under highly successful manager Terry Francona. Led by ace right-hander Corey Kluber, the Indians led the major leagues with a 3.30 ERA this season, one year after reaching the World Series.

Callaway has never managed at any professional level.

Astros reach World Series, shut out Yankees in ALCS Game 7

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Astros reach World Series, shut out Yankees in ALCS Game 7


HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve embraced Justin Verlander as confetti rained down. An improbable thought just a few years ago, the Houston Astros are headed to the World Series.

Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Astros reached the World Series for only the second time by blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Verlander, the ALCS MVP, and fellow Houston ace Dallas Keuchel will have plenty of rest before the World Series begins at sweltering Dodger Stadium.

"I love our personality," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We have the right amount of fun, the right amount of seriousness, the right amount of perspective when we need it. This is a very, very unique group. To win 100 games and still be hungry is pretty remarkable."

The Astros will try for their first World Series title, thanks in large part to Altuve, the diminutive second baseman who swings a potent bat, and Verlander, who switched teams for the first time in his career to chase a ring.

Four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees on consecutive nights after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first crown, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

"This city, they deserve this," McCullers said.

Clutch defensive plays by third baseman Alex Bregman and center fielder George Springer helped Houston improve to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and become the fifth team in major league history to capture a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four. A noted curveballer, McCullers finished up with 24 straight breaking pitches to earn his first major league save.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

"I know people are going to talk about how we didn't win many games on the road. There were some other teams that haven't won many games on the road, either. We just happened to run into a very good team that just beat us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The Astros also eliminated New York in the 2015 postseason, with Keuchel winning the AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium.

CC Sabathia entered 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double. He snapped an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night in a 7-1 win.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York went 1-6 on the road this postseason.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who lost to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS exactly 13 years earlier.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh.

With McCullers in charge, the Astros soon closed it out.

"It's not easy to get here. And I don't take any of this for granted. And this is what we play for," Verlander said. "These are the experiences that you remember at the end of your career when you look back, winning these games, just playing the World Series. Hopefully winning the World Series."