Larry Bowa was fired as manager of the Phillies yesterday.

They failed to reach the playoffs for the 11th straight season after coming in as favorites to win the NL East. They were 85-75 when Bowa was dismissed before last night's game against Florida. Bench coach Gary Varsho will manage the final two games for the Phillies.

Bowa led the Phillies to consecutive winning seasons for the first time in 21 years, but it wasn't enough. A popular figure in Philadelphia who helped the Phillies win their only World Series as a shortstop on the 1980 team, Bowa wasn't well-liked among his players.

Entering yesterday, Bowa was 337-308 with the Phillies. He had an 81-127 record in 11/2 seasons with San Diego in 1987-88.

* MCKEON BACK: The Marlins announced that Jack McKeon, 73, signed a one-year contract extension for next season. He led Florida's dramatic turnaround from last-place team to World Series champions after being hired 38 games into the 2003 season.

McKeon, with 928 wins after yesterday's victory over Philadelphia, ranks seventh among active managers and 55th all-time in career victories. He turns 74 on Nov. 23.

* FIRINGS: The Blue Jays fired pitching coach Gil Patterson and first base coach Joe Breeden.

-- From News Services