NY Mets axe Willie after ‘W’ vs. Angels
By: By The Associated Press
Willie Randolph was fired by the New York Mets in the middle of the night, following their third win in four games.
Strange timing, but not a huge surprise.
After weeks of speculation that his job as manager was in jeopardy, Randolph was let go early this morning about two hours after New York’s 9-6 victory over the host Los Angeles Angels.
Bench coach Jerry Manuel takes over on an interim basis for Randolph, who led the Mets to within one win of the 2006 World Series. They got off to a strong start again last year but collapsed down the stretch and have been unable to rebound so far this season.
“I honestly don’t think we go out there thinking, well, I’ve got to make sure we win this game so Willie can keep his job, because that’s out of our control,” closer Billy Wagner said moments after saving Monday night’s victory. “I think we’re all out there just trying to do our job.”
The struggling Seattle Mariners also made a major change Monday, firing general manager Bill Bavasi. Vice president/associate general manager Lee Pelekoudas took over as interim GM.
A preseason favorite to win the NL pennant, the $138 million Mets (34-35) had won two in a row when Randolph was dismissed — making him the first big league manager to get fired this season.
Pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto also were cut loose in an enormous overhaul that was revealed in a fact-of-the-matter news release at a stunning time — about 12:15 a.m. PDT.
Ken Oberkfell, the club’s manager at Triple-A New Orleans, and Dan Warthen, pitching coach for the Zephyrs, will join the major league staff along with Luis Aguayo, a Mets field coordinator.
The Mets said general manager Omar Minaya and Manuel would be available to reporters at Angel Stadium today.
In other games Monday, it was: Philadelphia 8, Boston 2; Atlanta 7, Colorado 1; Florida 6, Seattle 1; and San Francisco 8, Detroit 6.
Before the game against Los Angeles, Randolph was asked if he sensed that his players were doing their best to rally around him.
“I don’t really feel like they’re looking at it as any type of rallying around me. They could be, but I haven’t taken any polls,” he said. “I just assume that they’re going out to win a ballgame. And that’s really what we think about and talk about as a team — how we can get this thing going. Period.”
Carlos Beltran homered twice for the Mets and Mike Pelfrey won for the first time in 11 starts since April 15 against Washington.
Pelfrey (3-6) allowed six runs and eight hits in six-plus innings against the AL West leaders. New York, starting a six-game road trip, scored in each of the first three innings against Jered Weaver (6-7).
The Angels made it 8-6 with three runs in the seventh before Aaron Heilman struck out Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter with the potential tying runs on base.
Wagner got three outs for his 15th save in 20 chances, his second in two days since blowing three straight opportunities.
Braves 7, Rockies 1
At Denver, Chipper Jones hit a two-run single in the fifth to break a scoreless tie, Jair Jurrjens pitched into the eighth inning without allowing a run and Atlanta beat Colorado in a National League game.
The contest was a makeup from a game that was snowed out on April 10.
Jones, mired in a 2-for-15 slump entering the game, finished 2-for-4 with a walk, raising his average a point to .403. Jeff Francoeur had a two-run double in the seventh and Brandon Jones added a two-run single in the ninth.
Jurrjens (7-3) leads major league rookies in wins. He struck out seven and allowed eight hits in a career-high 72/3 innings.
Ubaldo Jimenez (1-7) hasn’t won in 13 starts.
Phillies 8, Red Sox 2
At Philadelphia, Ryan Howard homered twice and Jimmy Rollins also connected to back another strong outing by Cole Hamels, helping the Phillies win in an interleague matchup of division leaders.
Hamels (7-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings. Since consecutive poor outings last month, the left-hander has a 1.50 ERA in his past three starts.
Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew hit consecutive homers for Boston.
Red Sox starter Bartolo Colon (4-2) gave up four runs and six hits in four innings before leaving with back stiffness.
Howard had his second multihomer game in four nights and finished 3-for-5 with a triple and four RBI.
Marlins 6, Mariners 1
At Seattle, Andrew Miller (5-5) allowed one run and six hits over seven innings for Florida, matching the longest outing of his career.
Just hours after Seattle fired Bavasi, in his fifth season as the team’s general manager, the Mariners lost their eighth straight at home, their longest home losing streak in nearly 12 years.
Mariners starter Carlos Silva (3-8) was ejected in the fifth for arguing a call at first base.
Giants 8, Tigers 6
At San Francisco, John Bowker hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth to spoil Fernando Rodney’s season debut, and the Giants improved to 1-6 in interleague play.
Marcus Thames homered twice and drove in three runs for the Tigers, who had their season-best six-game winning streak snapped. Thames connected for the fourth consecutive game.
Bowker was the first batter faced by Rodney, activated from the disabled list earlier Monday after missing the entire season with shoulder problems.