Dusty Baker retired after the benches cleared in Mariners vs. Astros


Dusty Baker retired after the benches cleared in Mariners vs. Astros

HOUSTON — Astros manager Dusty Baker wasn’t in the mood to talk about the ninth inning of Monday’s 7-4 loss to the Mariners, but he tried to plow through anyway. Angry, tired and frustrated after a tough loss, Baker spoke in a lower voice than usual as he tried to explain what had led to an incident involving the bursting of the benches and a series of ejections at Minute Maid Park.

Perhaps the frustration was because it was the second straight game the Astros saw one of their assists throw out in the ninth inning of a game after warnings were issued to the benches. On Monday, it was Héctor Neris who elicited a warning from Plate umpire Chris Guccione when he threw two outs behind Ty France in ninth place and was thrown out a few minutes later when he threw a pitch behind Eugenio Suárez.

“I don’t want to talk about it too much because I’m pretty pissed off already,” Baker said.

Baker and Neris, both of whom were automatically ejected because warnings had been issued, said neither the pitch grazing France’s rear nor the one sailing behind Suárez were intentional.

“[Guccione] Whether intentional or not, I can’t say [the pitch to Suárez]but he said after a warning he had to do it,” Neris said of the expulsion.

When asked if the pitch was intentional, Neris said, “I have no comment on that.”

The erroneous pitch for Suárez came two batters after Julio Rodríguez hit a two-run homer to put the Mariners 7-4 ahead and scored a goal for France, their 12th major league run of one pitch had been hit. He took the lead in MLB last year with 27 hit-by-pitches.

“In a one-run game, you’re not going to turn anyone on by throwing at them,” Baker said. “We’re not doing that anyway.”

Mariners manager Scott Servais disagreed, which is why he started yelling at the opposing dugout after the attack on France. Both the benches and bullpens emptied as players crowded together at home plate, but there were no physical altercations. Servais and Astros first base coach Omar López were sacked at this point.

“He threw behind Ty France, that’s pretty clear,” Servais said. “When we got into the series, whatever happened to them yesterday, we weren’t involved. I thought it was obvious he threw the ball behind him. The guy walked three or four guys all year [four in 23 1/3 innings prior to Monday].”

France said Guccione asked him if he thought Neri’s hit-by-pitch was intentional, and he said no. Mariners starter Robbie Ray threw a wild pitch that nearly hit Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker in the fifth inning, but that didn’t seem to stoke the flames that raged in the ninth.

“It got me and I didn’t hear the referee say it got me, so I turned around and told them to check and the referee said, ‘No, I got you,'” said France. “I asked him, ‘You don’t think that was intentional, do you, because of the pitch to Tucker earlier in the game?’ And he said, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ I thought, ‘Yeah, I don’t think so in a one-run game.’ Then I looked up and her shelter ran towards me.”

Last July, Astros pitcher Brooks Raley was suspended for three games and fined for beating Mariners shortstop JP Crawford after Dylan Moore scored a pinch-hit grand slam in Seattle. Baker received a one-game suspension.

“It seems like there’s bad blood brewing even from last year,” Baker said.

Astros replica Ryan Pressly was ejected in the ninth inning of Sunday’s win at Kansas City after objecting when cautions were issued to Michael A. Taylor after two inside courts. As a result, Houston used two more assists – Phil Maton and Rafael Montero – and on Monday the club needed Bryan Abreu to win the final from the ninth after Neris was ejected.

“It sort of turned into bad events for us,” Baker said.

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