Embattled Washington Nationals Manager Dave Martinez showed some of the fight he so often talks about admiring in his players during Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the New York Mets at Citi Field.
With Washington trailing New York 3-1 in the eighth inning, Howie Kendrick struck out on a failed check swing. Kendrick expressed frustration with home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman for not appealing to the first base umpire and was ejected. Martinez picked up the argument from there, charging from the Nationals’ dugout to let Dreckman have it.
After an animated discussion that featured a lot of gesturing and pointing toward first base by Martinez, Dreckman decided he had heard enough. He clapped his hands and ejected the second-year manager, who proceeded to kick dirt on home plate and spike his Nationals cap.
Martinez shouted at Dreckman and pointed some more before finally retreating to the Nationals’ clubhouse.
“I just didn’t think he swung,” Martinez told reporters after the game. “We just got into it. All I did was tell him to ask for help. That’s why the first base umpire’s there, and he didn’t like it. I did what I had to do. . . . All he had to do was ask for help. If the first base umpire says he swung, so be it.”
Washington rallied for three runs in the inning and took a 4-3 lead on Gerardo Parra’s two-run single, but the Mets answered against the Nationals’ dreadful bullpen. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Carlos Gomez crushed Wander Suero’s 1-2 pitch for a three-run home run to give New York a 6-4 lead. Washington went quietly in the ninth inning, allowing the Mets to complete a four-game sweep. The Nationals held a lead in the eighth inning of each of their past three games.
Brian Dozier came to Martinez’s defense after the loss, which dropped Washington to 12 games under .500 for the first time since the final day of the 2010 season.
“He’s a hell of a manager,” Dozier said. “I’d have his back any day.”
With his third career ejection as a manager, Martinez moved into a tie with former Nationals Manager Matt Williams — and 36 others — for 275th on the all-time list. Martinez’s second ejection came last month during a loss to the Giants in which he argued balls and strikes from the dugout. “You got to be better than that,” Martinez said he told home plate umpire Tony Randazzo.
Martinez’s first career ejection, during a home loss to the Mets in April of last season, looked a lot like Thursday’s. He kicked dirt on home plate and spiked his hat after getting tossed by home plate umpire Marty Foster, who had ejected Anthony Rendon moments earlier.
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