He had to wait a while, but Tony DeFrancesco finally has his first win as a major league manager, as the Astros topped the Mets 3-1 last night at Citi Field. DeFrancesco managed 17 years in the minors before taking over for Brad Mills last Sunday and was 0-4 as interim manager going into last night’s game.
Jordan Lyles tossed six innings of one-run ball in the win and also chipped in with an RBI double. Tyler Greene, who was recently acquired from the Cardinals, hit his third homer in 12 games as a member of the Astros.
It was a pretty special night for DeFrancesco, who grew up in the Bronx and went to Seton Hall. He had plenty of family and friends in attendance at Citi Field, including his parents.
Here’s video of a post-game toast in the visiting manager’s office, courtesy of Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle:
Pretty cool stuff. Last night’s win was just the eighth for the Astros in their last 51 games. As our own Aaron Gleeman noted last night, the Astros are amazingly 4-0 against the Mets this season and 36-86 against everyone else. In other words, the Mets make up 10 percent of their wins this season. LOLMets lives on.
The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.
Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.
Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.
James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.
The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.