Houston Astros reliever Hector Neris was issued a four-game suspension Tuesday for intentionally throwing behind Seattle Mariners third baseman Eugenio Suarez’s head Monday after both teams had been warned following a benches-clearing skirmish.
Astros manager Dusty Baker was suspended one game by Major League Baseball for Neris’ actions, and both were fined an undisclosed amount.
Mariners manager Scott Servais and Astros coaches Joe Espada, Omar Lopez and Troy Snitker also were fined for their actions in the melee in the top of the ninth inning in Seattle’s 7-4 win at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
Baker will serve his suspension Tuesday as the Astros again host the Mariners, with Espada managing in his place. Neris is appealing his suspension and remains active for the game.
The trouble Monday began with two outs in the ninth, when Neris plunked slugger Ty France in the back. Players and coaches on both sides began chirping at each other, and Servais led the way as Seattle’s bench emptied to confront the Astros near home plate.
“All I know is our best hitter is in there, it’s two out in the ninth and you throw the first pitch behind him,” Servais said after the game. “It’s pretty obvious.”
The Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez pulled Neris away from the scrum, while Servais and Baker were at the center of the pushing and shoving, with Servais pointing and shouting repeatedly at Lopez, the Astros’ first-base coach.
Servais and Lopez were ejected, and both benches were given warnings.
Rodriguez homered and J.P. Crawford walked before Neris was ejected after throwing a pitch behind Suarez’s head. Baker was also automatically ejected because of the warning.
Baker denied after the game that Neris intentionally threw at either France or Suarez.
“The pitch behind France, in a one-run game you’re not going to put anybody on, nobody is throwing at him,” Baker said. “We don’t do that anyway. It was a series of bad events and I don’t want to talk about it too much more because I’m already kind of [upset].”
Neris also denied that his errant pitches were on purpose, and even France didn’t believe the one that hit him was intentional.
“The timing wasn’t right for it to be intentional,” France said. “So I don’t know if it was not, but I don’t think it was.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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