Tempers flared and benches emptied in the seventh inning Tuesday night in the Mets' 6-5 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies felt Mets right-hander Hansel Robles quick-pitched a pair of their hitters on consecutive nights before they had a chance to get set in the batter's box. The second occurrence got Jeff Francoeur out of the dugout, bench coach Larry Bowa ejected and Daniel Murphy wondering why Bowa wanted him drilled in the ribs with a pitch.
"Let the guy step in the box," Francoeur said. "That's all I ask. We saw [Jeurys] Familia quick pitch, but the guy was ready. LaTroy [Hawkins] did it to me earlier this year in Toronto. Ruffy [Darin Ruf] had one foot in the box [in the seventh]. That's chicken … that's what it is. I never met the guy and I have no problem with him. Let the guy get in the box. And if they can't understand why we are upset with that … it had nothing to do with anything else."
Ruf had just raised his head in the batter's box when Robles delivered his first pitch to him to the plate. Home-plate umpire Dan Bellino immediately called off the pitch, but the Phillies felt Robles did the same thing Monday night to Cameron Rupp, which prompted them to start yelling.
Francoeur quickly stepped out onto the field to express his displeasure.
"Jeff, sit down! Jeff, sit down!" Bellino shouted to Francoeur.
Bowa got ejected almost immediately after that. Bowa, who had more than a few memorable ejections as Phillies manager from 2001-04, then got in Bellino's face.
"I stopped it," Bellino told Bowa about the pitch.
"Larry just got a little bit aggravated because it happened two days in a row," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. "Same pitcher. It's a legal play and there's nothing wrong with it. But the umpire's got to make sure that the batter is ready in the box because you can get hurt. Rupp just got his hand on the bat [Monday] and the pitch was on its way. So you've just got to be careful with it. Larry reacted."
Mets manager Terry Collins disagreed with Bowa, whom Collins called one of his best friends. They worked together in Anaheim, when Collins managed the Angels.
"I saw a quick pitch and Larry went like Larry is," Collins said. "He's pretty intense. I just said until they make the pitch illegal, you can do it. I see it all the time."
It was a coincidence that Francoeur mentioned Hawkins, but when Hawkins pitched for the Mets in 2013, he encouraged Mets relievers to employ the quick pitch. Many obviously still keep up with the practice.
Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud said he told Robles to wait to throw because he noticed Ruf looking down. Robles said through an interpreter that he saw Belllino point to him to throw.
Murphy later saw Bowa yelling at him from the dugout. Bowa apparently did not like the way Murphy flipped his bat after he hit a home run Monday night. He told Murphy he should get a pitch to the ribs. It is at that point both teams got warnings.
"I can't sit here and try to pretend to know what someone else was thinking," Murphy said. "If that's the reason, then he must have taken exception to it. But I can't put what somebody else is thinking at a certain moment."
"I don't know what that was about," Mackanin said about Bowa. "I think he just got mad at everybody."
Bowa left the clubhouse after the game and was unavailable to comment.
"I had no problem with the way those guys played," Francoeur said. "They played hard. They are a great baseball team. I've got a lot of buddies on that team. My whole thing is to give the guy time because that's bull …"
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.