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Giants pitchers hit four Reds batters in one inning

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The bee-infested day game between the Giants and Reds down in Cincinnati got weirder in the bottom of the sixth inning when Giants pitchers tied a dubious major league record by hitting four batters in the inning. The record of four hit batsmen in an inning was set way back on August 19, 1893 in a game between the Boston Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates. Back then no one threw as hard as they do now, so I’m guessing it was easier to take.

Ambidextrous reliever Pat Venditte hit three of the four and used both arms to do it.

With one out, and the Giants trailing 7-4, he plunked Eugenio Suárez while pitching right-handed. Then he walked Yasiel Puig, gave up a single to load the bases, gave up two more singles and found himself and his team down 10-4. At that point he hit José Peraza, again pitching righty, then hit lefty pinch-hitter Josh VanMeter after switching to southpaw to make it 11-4.

By then Bruce Bochy had seen enough and replaced Venditte with Sam Dyson. He struck out the first batter he saw for out number two and then plunked Joey Votto to force in yet another run. Suárez came back up again, grounded out and the inning was over. It’s still 12-4 as the game enters the ninth inning.

UPDATE: The Giants used Pablo Sandoval to pitch the ninth inning. He hit a batter too, so make it five plunkings in the game for Giants “pitchers.”

I don’t have the game on because I’m blacked out of Reds games, but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that none of these were intentional. For one thing, it does not seem that anyone jawed or postured or had any thoughts of fighting about it. For another thing, you generally don’t hit guys on purpose with the bases loaded. Seems to me that Venditte just had no control today and Dyson simply lost one.

No matter the case this was one ugly game for the Giants.

 

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.”