Reliever has heated exchange with Sandberg after fanning Mercer with bases loaded
By John McGonigal
PITTSBURGH -- Ken Giles was not happy, and neither were his coaches.
In a 1-0 loss to the Pirates on Friday night at PNC Park, Giles showed frustration following a mound visit, after which he intentionally walked Pedro Alvarez with two outs and a runner on second base in the bottom of the eighth inning.
After an apparently reluctant intentional walk to Alvarez, Giles unintentionally walked Francisco Cervelli before fighting back from a 3-0 count to strike out Jordy Mercer. Giles stormed off the hill, made a hand gesture, and took his seat in the dugout.
Manager Ryne Sandberg and pitching coach Bob McClure located Giles in the dugout, voicing their frustrations at the 24-year-old right-hander.
Sandberg said there was frustration between both parties as they "talked about some game situations," and that everything was taken care of internally.
The frame started well for Giles. The hard-throwing reliever was getting his fastball up to 97 mph and used it effectively to strike out Pirates star outfielder Andrew McCutchen and then force Neil Walker to ground out.
Seeking a 1-2-3 inning, Giles tried to throw out Josh Harrison on a grounder that ricocheted off him, but instead sailed his throw over first base and into the stands.
That woke up a sleepy crowd, and applied a bit of pressure.
The subsequent walks only heightened Giles' visible annoyance on the bump, and he nearly walked in the go-ahead run before briefly settling and retiring Mercer with three consecutive high-90s fastballs.
Sandberg said he has no problem with players being emotional. In fact, he welcomes it -- just not for everyone with a set of eyes to see.
"There was some frustration," Sandberg said. "There's a time and a place and situations to show that."
John McGonigal is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.