Kruk & Kuip: 'The Giants felt they had to retaliate'
George Kontos was warned after a pitch sailed behind Starling Marte and ejected after he hit Andrew McCutchen. (AP)
PITTSBURGH – The way George Kontos explained it, the Pirates were taking aggressive hacks at outside pitches and leaning over the plate.
So he was trying to establish pitches inside when sinkers got away. One flew behind Starling Marte and another drilled Andrew McCutchen Tuesday night.
The league office probably won’t see it Kontos’ way. The right-hander is likely to face a multiple-game suspension stemming from his ejection in the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s 8-2 loss at PNC Park.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, by rule, was ejected as well. If precedent holds, Bochy also will draw a one-game suspension. And league officials on Park Ave. usually don’t dawdle on these matters.
Although Kontos wouldn’t cop to any intent, it was understandable if the Giants were fed up. Marco Scutaro left the game in the seventh inning after getting hit by a pitch from left-hander Tony Watson. The pain on his face told you it hurt. The frustration on his face told you he could be hurt bad.
The Giants already lost Ryan Vogelsong for at least two months after his pinkie finger was crushed when hit by a pitch May 20. He had surgery to insert pins and is on the 60-day disabled list, unable to return until July 20 at the earliest.
Scutaro didn’t sustain a fracture but he couldn’t straighten the tip of his finger and will see a hand specialist to determine whether he ruptured any tendons.
Gregor Blanco also got hit in the ribs by a 97 mph fastball from rookie Gerrit Cole, but was a glancing blow and he remained in the game.
Kontos, who hadn’t pitched in 10 days, gave up a two-run home run to Pedro Alvarez in the seventh inning and drew a warning from plate umpire Wally Bell when he threw a pitch behind Marte to lead off the eighth.
Two batters later, Kontos threw a 2-0 fastball that plunked McCutchen in the hindquarters. Bell immediately ejected Kontos, who calmly walked off the mound. Tensions did not escalate between the two clubs.
“They were hacking at everything away,” said Kontos, who had never been ejected before in his pro career. “I just tried to pitch inside. A sinker got away from me. I opened up my front side a little early and the ball slipped out.”
Bochy took no issue with Bell’s decision to eject Kontos.
“In that situation, yeah,” the manager said. “You get a warning and end up hitting a guy, that’s fair. That’s part of the game. You have no argument.”