BOSTON — Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora was ejected from Saturday night’s opening game of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros after he barked at plate umpire James Hoye following a strikeout call.
The ejection occurred just after the fifth inning concluded. The inning ended when Hoye rang up Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi with a called third strike.
After working a 3-2 count on five pitches, Benintendi decided not to swing on the sixth, as a 97.8 mph fastball from Astros starter Justin Verlander spun toward the outer edge of the strike zone. According to pitch trackers, the ball actually crossed the plate just off the corner, outside.
The Red Sox were clearly angered by the punchout. Cora began yelling at Hoye from the dugout.
Immediately after the strikeout call, Benintendi also aggressively turned out of the batter’s box and toward Boston’s first-base-side dugout, slamming down his bat, elbow guard and helmet. As soon as each hit the ground, Red Sox third-base coach Carlos Febles came jogging up to grab the batter before he could say anything to Hoye.
Cora remained in the dugout for another few moments. Eventually, though, while Boston reliever Joe Kelly came out to take his warm-up pitches to start the sixth, Cora came out on the field and began screaming at both Hoye and crew chief Joe West, who had come over to address the situation.
After trying to plead his case to Hoye, Cora ultimately walked back to the dugout and toward the clubhouse. Bench coach Ron Roenicke took over in his place.
Benintendi’s strikeout ended a two-run rally the Red Sox staged in the fifth as they tied the game 2-2.
This was the second time Cora, Boston’s first-year manager, had been ejected this season. He was also tossed Aug. 3 against the Yankees. As a bench coach last season for the Astros, Cora had his only other career ejection. He was never ejected during his playing days.
Cora is the first manager to be ejected in the postseason since Cubs skipper Joe Maddon was tossed from Games 1 and 4 of last year’s NLCS.