By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — In his first year as a major league manager, Alex Cora made his ALCS debut on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
He only made it about halfway through.
The Boston manager disagreed with a called strike three by home plate umpire James Hoye — a call which killed a potential game-breaking inning for the Red Sox in the fifth inning. And so, Cora let Hoye know from the dugout that he believed Justin Verlander’s pitch to Andrew Benintendi was outside. (It was, indeed.)
But Hoye did not appreciate the commentary, and he had a quick hook, ejecting Cora while the manager remained seated at the top of the dugout steps.
Cora then hustled on to the field for a bit of an extended argument, but the ejection of course had already been made.
Cora’s arguments didn’t seem to help his team get any calls in the following inning, as the Sox spent the rest of the night with Ron Roenicke running the show.
“You can’t argue balls and strikes. And I did,” Cora said after the game. “It’s kind of, like, embarrassing that it happens in the playoffs, you know? That wasn’t cool watching the game in the clubhouse. I’ve got a job to do and [it’s] manage the team in the dugout. But, sometimes you’ve gotta do what you gotta do, and you’ve gotta defend your players.”
The game was tied 2-2 when Cora was ejected, after the Red Sox had just plated two runs off Verlander. Had the pitch to Benintendi been called a ball, Benintendi would have drawn a walk to load the bases for J.D. Martinez. In an inning where Verlander was struggling mightily (he walked three batters already, and Benintendi would have been the fourth), that was the setup for a significant moment in the game.
The Astros went on to win, 7-2, though the game was 3-2 when it entered the ninth inning.