Smith ties team record by hitting 4 batters

Smith ties team record by hitting 4 batters

CINCINNATI -- Rookie Josh Smith has only three Major League starts on his resume, but managed to tie a 108-year old Reds record vs. the Brewers on Saturday night.

During a 7-3 loss to Milwaukee, Smith hit four batters with pitches and evened the club record set by Jake Weimer all the way back on July 28, 1907, vs. the New York Giants.

"That can't happen. I'm trying to pitch in and the balls got away from me a little bit," Smith said.

Known as "Tornado Jake," Weimer won 20 games in each of his first two big league seasons for the Cubs in 1903-04, and again for Cincinnati in 1906. Twice in his seven-year career, he pitched more than 300 innings.

The last Major League pitcher to plunk four batters was Livan Hernandez for the Nationals on July 20, 2005, vs. the Rockies.

Smith opened the top of the second inning by hitting Aramis Ramirez with a 2-2 changeup. Next batter Jean Segura was plunked on the arm by a first pitch. A double play helped Smith escape the inning without damage. In the third, leadoff hitter Gerardo Parra was struck by a 0-1 slider, but erased when he was caught stealing.

With 10 walks issued in his first two starts, Smith was trying to be less fine around the plate.

"We want to be more aggressive. Certainly, he's not trying to hit anybody in those situations there," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He had a couple of fastballs, I think a cutter and a slider that backed up and hit Ramirez, I believe. There was no intent to hit anybody, but he was a little bit erratic."

One run had already scored in the fifth when Smith hit Carlos Gomez on the left wrist to load the bases. Gomez was forced to leave the game with a contusion, but X-rays were negative.

"I was trying to get a fastball in, Smith said. "They either hook it foul, get a ground ball, get out of the inning. It ran inside on me."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Major League record for hit batters in one game in the modern era is five, set by Oscar Jones for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 20, 1903. Smith did not get the chance to match it as Gomez marked his final batter of the night.

Milwaukee went on to rally for a six-run inning against reliever Ryan Mattheus. Smith's line completed with five earned runs and five hits over 4 1/3 innings with three walks (one intentional), two strikeouts and yes, four hit batsmen.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.