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The Umpire Strikes Back.
Last Friday at Candlestick Park, a pitch was delivered when no batter was within 20 feet of home plate. There were two outs in the ninth, a runner was at second, and the Braves trailed the Giants 1-0 when Atlanta's Ron Gant walked away from the plate in anger over a strike call made by plate umpire Mark Hirschbeck. Hirschbeck told him to get back in the batter's box: when Gant refused, Hirschbeck instructed San Francisco pitcher Rod Beck to throw a pitch. Hirschbeck called it a strike—although it didn't look like a strike—prompting Brave manager Bobby Cox and virtually the entire Atlanta bench to leave the dugout to argue. Cox was ejected, and Gant continued his at bat with a 1-2 count and flied out to end the game. "In all my two weeks in the major leagues," said Brave rookie pitcher Greg McMiehael. "I've never seen anything like it."
Slugger on the Mound.
Last Thursday, Ranger outfielder Jose Canseco pitched a scoreless first inning in Texas's exhibition game against its Triple A affiliate, the Oklahoma City 89ers. He threw as fast as 86 mph and had a good knuckleball, according to the 89ers' Keith Miller, who struck out. "It was hard to concentrate with him out there," Miller says. "But it got some attention—I was on ESPN. Friends from home [ Dallas] called to give me a hard time. It was like, "Keith, what's the deal? Canseco struck you out?' "
By the Numbers
Through Sunday, Ranger outfielder Juan Gonzalez, 23, had two multihomer games this year to give him 10 for his career. Babe Ruth had 72 multihomer games in his career, and Gonzalez is on the same pace as Ruth.