Giants engineer incredible eight-run comeback to beat Reds in extras

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Things have not been going well for the Giants in 2019. They entered Friday’s opener against the Reds with a 13-19 record, tied with their opponent for second-worst record in the National League and trailing only the Marlins, who have won just nine games this season. It was little consolation that they were evenly matched against the Reds, too; as MLB.com’s Maria Guardado pointed out, they hadn’t won a single game on Cincinnati’s home turf since May 3, 2016.

That changed on Friday night, when the Giants clawed their way back from an 8-0 deficit in the third inning to eventually top their NL rivals, 12-11, in the 11th. While Derek Dietrich and Kyle Farmer dominated San Francisco’s pitching staff — Dietrich hammered two home runs off of Tyler Beede in the first and third innings, and Farmer collected a single and home run of his own — the Giants found several opportune moments to chip away at an enormous deficit. Brandon Crawford got the team on the board in the fourth with a run-scoring groundout, followed by a two-RBI single from Steven Duggar to bring the score to a more manageable 8-3.

Their big breakout came in the sixth. Now lagging 10-3, they cranked out another four runs on Duggar’s sac fly, an RBI double from Stephen Vogt, and a 401-foot homer from Joe Panik, his second of the year. The two sides traded a couple more runs prior to the ninth inning when, down 11-10 with two outs, Vogt belted a first-pitch sinker from Raisel Iglesias deep into the right-field bleachers for the game-tying shot.

It was the first homer the 34-year-old catcher had recorded in the majors since 2017, and one that could not have been more fortuitously timed. (Had he been able to squeeze in a triple during a fourth at-bat, he would have hit for the cycle as well.) After a scoreless 10th — the first complete scoreless inning of the evening — the Giants took it home in the 11th with a leadoff go-ahead homer from Evan Longoria.

According to MLB Stats, the Giants’ come-from-behind win was their biggest in franchise history since September 4, 1989, when they orchestrated a 9-8 win over the Reds and scored all nine runs in the final three innings of the game.

The Reds will seek a comeback of their own on Saturday, with right-hander Tanner Roark is scheduled to square off against righty Dereck Rodríguez at 7:10 PM EDT.

Astros owner Crane expects to hire new manager by Feb. 3

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane expects to hire a new manager by Feb. 3.

The Astros need a new manager and general manager after AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday, hours after both were suspended by Major League Baseball for a year for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

Crane said Friday that he’s interviewed a number of candidates this week and has some more to talk to in the coming days.

Crane refused to answer directly when asked if former Astros player and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was a possibility for the job. But he did say that he had spoken to Biggio, fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and former Astros star Lance Berkman in the days since the firings.

“We’ve talked to all of our Killer B’s,” Crane said referring to the nickname the three shared while playing for the Astros. “They’ve contacted me and they’ve all expressed that they would like to help. Berkman, Bagwell, Biggio have all called and said: ‘hey, if there’s anything I can do, I’m here for you.’”

“So we’ll continue to visit with those guys and see if there’s something there.”

Crane says his list is still rather extensive and that he hopes to have it narrowed down by the end of next week. He added that he expects most of Hinch’s staff to stay in place regardless of who is hired.

Crane has enlisted the help of three or four employees to help him with the interview process, including some in Houston’s baseball operations department.

“We compare notes,” he said. “I’ve learned a long time ago that you learn a lot if four or five people talk to a key candidate and you get a lot more information. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Crane’ top priority is finding a manager with spring training less than a month away, but he said he would start focusing on the search for a general manager after he hires a manager. He expects to hire a GM before the end of spring training.

“We should have another good season with the team pretty much intact … so I don’t know why a manager wouldn’t want to come in and manage these guys,” he said. “They’re set to win again.”

The penalties announced by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday came after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs in Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. The Astros were also fined $5 million, which is the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and must forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.

With much still in flux, Crane was asked what qualities are most important to him in his next manager.

“Someone mature that can handle the group,” he said. “Someone that’s had a little bit of experience in some areas. We’ve just got to find a leader that can handle some pressure and there’s going to be a little bit of pressure from where this team has been in the last few months.”

Despite his comment about experience, Crane said having been a major league manager before is not mandatory to him.

“We made some mistakes,” he said. “We made a decision to let that get behind us. We think the future is bright. We’ll make the adjustments … people think we’re in crisis. I certainly don’t believe that.”