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April 10, 2017

Tempers flare as Ramos throws purpose pitch, Mackanin ejected in Phillies loss

The last game of Edubray Ramos’ rookie season came with 10 days left in the Phillies season.

He entered with a two-run lead in the 11th inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. It was an opportunity for the then-23-year-old, hard-throwing right-hander to collect the first big league save of his young career.

But after getting a quick first out, Ramos walked Michael Conforto on four pitches. Jose Reyes followed with a single.

And then Asdrubal Cabrera sized up the 10th pitch Ramos threw, launched it into the New York night, flipped his bat toward the Empire State Building, and circled the bases with a walk-off, three-run home run.

An over-the-top celebration? You be the judge. Walk-off home runs in September for contending teams are a big deal.

Ramos, though, apparently was not a fan of his fellow Venezuelan’s celebration. Or at least that’s how it looked when they met on the field on Monday night in South Philly for the first time since that September night.

After the Phillies received seven superb innings from Jerad Eickhoff, Ramos entered to start the eighth inning, and, once again, got a quick and easy first out.

And then Asdrubal Cabrera stepped into the batter’s box at Citizens Bank Park. And then Ramos fired a 96-MPH fastball about two feet over Cabrera’s head.

Words were exchanged before Cameron Rupp stood in front of Cabrera in an effort to ease the tension. Home plate umpire Allan Porter must have had something to say, too, because Pete Mackanin came out of the dugout and said enough back to get ejected from Monday night’s game.

Mackanin saved some of his anger for Ramos.

"There might have been (history with Ramos and Cabrera), there probably was, but I don't think about that during the course of the game," Mackanin said. "I'm trying to win a game, it's a tied game in the eighth inning and if in fact he did do that intentionally for whatever reason, we don't play that way. I don't play that way. It's inappropriate, especially with a tied game in the eighth inning."

Whether it was intentional or not (you can read between the lines for yourself), Ramos’ pitch was poorly-timed: it came in a game the Mets had rallied to tie in the previous innings. Cabrera won Monday’s battle, working a walk (and flipping his bat back toward the visiting dugout before jogging to first base) and then scoring two batters later, when Jay Bruce hit a mammoth, two-run home run off Joely Rodriguez, his second home run of the night, to give the Mets a 4-3 victory. 

"The pitch got away from me," Ramos said. "I didn’t try to hit him. It was a tie game so I was just trying to execute my pitches."

He did hit a big home run off you the last time you faced each other, though.

"I already put that in the past," Ramos said.

Did Cabrera's celebration bother you that night?

"Yeah, a little," Ramos offered, "but again that was last year."

Ramos declined to say anymore, only repeating that the pitch got away from him. Mackanin said he would talk to his young reliever on Tuesday.

Mackanin also said he was thrown out of the game after asking if the umpire had given him a warning. 

"He threw me out for no reason," Mackanin said. "I didn't (say) anything to him in person."

Brock Stassi, hitless in the first week of his major league career entering the night, made the ninth inning interesting by hitting a solo home run. But the rookie’s first big league hit was all the Phillies had in their last at-bat as they suffered their first one-run defeat of the young season.

If nothing else, the Phillies heated up a rivalry with an NL East foe on Monday.

"We play these guys 18 more times," Mackanin said. "That's the last thing we need on our plate."

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