April 15, 2024

Rhys Hoskins homers, Mets reliever ejected as tempers flare again

NEW YORK — The feud between Rhys Hoskins and the New York Mets escalated on Saturday, with New York’s Yohan Ramírez ejected for throwing behind Hoskins in the seventh inning. The Milwaukee Brewers designated hitter had already delivered three hits and four RBIs earlier in the game.

“Big-leaguers don’t miss by 8 feet,” Hoskins said of the wayward pitch. “Whether it was on purpose or not is really not for me to decide. But this game has had a way of policing itself for many, many years. So let’s focus on doing it the right way if we’re going to do that.”

Ramírez denied any malicious intent.

“I was trying to throw my sinker inside,” he said, “and sometimes when I try to get it too inside, the ball just runs. In this weather, I didn’t have the grip that I want.”

On Friday, Hoskins’ hard slide into second base angered the Mets’ Jeff McNeil. The infielder immediately started yelling and pointing at Hoskins, prompting the benches to clear. The Mets contended that Hoskins’ slide was later than it should have been and that it was not the first time Hoskins had gone into second base like that on McNeil.

On Saturday, Hoskins was booed lustily by the Citi Field crowd for each of his trips to the plate. With two on and first base open in the first inning, Hoskins lined Luis Severino’s first pitch down the left-field line to score two Milwaukee runs. Two innings later, Hoskins roped a hanging slider from Severino into the left-field seats for a two-run homer.

On a 2019 home run at Citi Field the night after a dustup, Hoskins embarked on as slow a home-run trot as humanly possible. This time, he jogged around the bases at a normal pace.

“People boo you, people doubt you, people do whatever they do,” Hoskins said. “It’s always nice to prove people wrong. I am ecstatic about what I was able to do to help us win a game today. We won a series on the road to start the year at a place where it’s not easy to do so. Stoked about that.”

Was he extra fired up because of the boos?

“Again, I am a competitor, right? No doubt about it,” Hoskins said. “Where we were at in the game, just to get on top early, it was big for us after yesterday just to keep that momentum going. So, ecstatic about that too.”

Hoskins blooped a single in the fifth, coming around to score on a Severino balk.

In the seventh, Ramírez threw the first pitch of the plate appearance, a 94 mph two-seamer, behind Hoskins at shoulder level. Ramírez raced in toward home, perhaps because the ball had caromed off the backstop, while Hoskins stood arms akimbo. After caucusing, the umpires ejected Ramírez from his Mets debut.

“You hate to see it,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “Definitely not trying to hit him. I understand their frustration. It’s going to be a topic because of what happened yesterday. He’s trying to pitch up and in. He’s trying to get a ground ball with the sinker. That happens.

“I know it looks really, really bad, but we’re not trying to hit anybody.”

Brewers manager Pat Murphy bolted out of the dugout after Hoskins was hit, yelling in the direction of the Mets and the umpiring crew. He was more subdued in his postgame comments.

“I bet it wasn’t on purpose,” Murphy said. “But I am trying to protect the guy. I didn’t suggest they throw him out of the game. I just said, hey, man, we gotta take hold of this. I don’t want people getting hurt.”

Jorge López entered with a 1-0 count. A fan shouted, “One more time!” Instead, López finished off a four-pitch walk to Hoskins.

Is this feud over?

Hoskins took a long pause before answering that one.

“I don’t know. I don’t really care, to be honest,” he said. “I am going to come here and try to win a ballgame tomorrow. That’s it.”

(Photo of Rhys Hoskins: Wendell Cruz / USA Today)