Dusty Baker just managed the Reds out of a possible rally

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Bottom of the sixth inning, the Reds coming back. A Ryan Ludwick homer brings them to within three runs.  Then, Jay Bruce walks, Scott Rolen singles, putting Bruce on second. Ryan Hanigan comes up to the plate — still no one out — and works the count full.  Matt Cain is on the ropes!

Then Dusty Baker sends Jay Bruce on a steal of third for some damn reason, Hanigan either doesn’t realize it or doesn’t care, and fails to swing at Cain’s pitch, which is called a strike, and then Buster Posey fires it down to third and nails Bruce by a couple of steps. Stike-em-out-throw-em-out double play. Cain is off the hook and then after a pitching change Drew Stubbs grounds out to end the inning. We’re in the seventh now, with the Giants up 6-3.

Why Baker is sending Bruce in that situation, in that park against a pitcher who is fighting for his life is a mystery. But he gave the Giants a free out and, depending on what Hanigan was thinking, maybe two.  Just a disastrous sequence of events.

But Dusty sure showed us who can manage, in every active sense of the verb “manage.”

Brandon Belt, Jaime Barrios set new modern record with 21-pitch at-bat

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Angels starter Jaime Barrios and Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record with a 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Anaheim. Belt fell behind 1-2 and mostly kept fouling pitches off. The count ran full on the ninth pitch and Belt would foul off 11 more pitches before finally lining out to right field.

As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, the previous record was set on June 26, 1998 when the Indians’ Bartolo Colon and the Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez battled for 20 pitches. Gutierrez eventually struck out.