MIAMI (WFAN/AP) — New York Mets closer Frank Francisco stomped from the mound to the plate, screaming and waving his index finger at umpire Todd Tichenor.
At one point, he almost made contact with Tichenor as he waived his arms wildly. Francisco was clearly upset with Tichenor’s definition of the strike zone.
When the tirade and altercation ended, the Mets’ on-field ninth-inning meltdown continued.
Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-out grand slam to cap a rally Sunday by the Miami Marlins, who scored six times in the ninth to beat an angry Francisco and the Mets 8-4.
“Any time you see the other team lose their cool like that, you know we’re in the driver’s seat,” Stanton said.
The Marlins trailed 4-2 when Emilio Bonifacio led off the ninth with his second triple of the game against Francisco. John Buck walked and pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs followed with an RBI single.
Francisco was then replaced, and he headed slowly toward Tichenor, hollering as he approached. The big right-hander was ejected even though he was already out of the game.
Manager Terry Collins stepped between Tichenor and Francisco, who waved his finger and then his cap at the ump before finally heading to the dugout.
“I thought I was hitting my spots really good, and I didn’t get a call,” Francisco said later.
He said he became angry because he asked Tichenor about the location of the pitches called balls, and the umpire didn’t answer.
“I expect him to say something, like they are low or high or away. Give me a reason,” Francisco said. “But he said nothing.”
The reliever said every pitch to Buck was a strike. Buck disagreed.
“We all know I love to swing,” Buck said with a smile. “I’m not the most patient guy. If I could have, I would have put some wood on it. There was probably one pitch that was questionable.”
All eight Miami runs came against the Mets’ bullpen. Francisco’s ERA rose to an unsightly 8.56.
His role is in question because of a possible suspension or demotion from the closer’s role.
“I don’t think I should get suspended for that, because I have to be able to express my feelings,” he said.
Collins said he’ll wait until Monday to decide whether bullpen assignments should change.
“I’m not going to address that right now,” the manager said. “The emotions are a little high tonight, and this is not a very good time to be making those kinds of decisions.”
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