CINCINNATI -- Plate umpire Brian Gorman warned both benches about tight pitches early in Saturday night's game between the Pirates and the Reds. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle felt the warnings (a) were an unnecessary impediment to the flow of the game and (b) came at a bad time. Hurdle came out of his dugout to let Gorman know his feelings. Not surprisingly, Gorman got in the last word, which essentially excused Hurdle for the rest of the evening. It was Hurdle's third ejection of the season.
"The wind's blowing out, you've got to pitch inside. I just didn't think it was the right call," Hurdle said following the Pirates' 5-4 defeat at Great American Ball Park. "I just wanted to see the guys play, let the game happen on the field. That changed the mindset of the game a little bit." Gorman went into action after Cincinnati right-hander Mike Leake hit Josh Harrison on the left thigh with a pitch with two outs in the second. Hurdle's discussion with Gorman escalated until the Pirates' skipper got the umpire's dismissive wave. Hurdle's objection was obvious. The bad feelings between the NL Central contenders boiled over from the ninth inning of Friday night's series opener, when Aroldis Chapman hit Andrew McCutchen on the left shoulder with a 101-mph fastball. With the umpires declining to issue pregame warnings to the benches, it meant Leake's pitch to Harrison led to no repercussions. When the warnings were issued subsequently, the Reds had gotten two "shots" in to none for the Pirates. "I just wanted to defend our club. I was taking a stand. I felt we were getting the short end of the stick," Hurdle said. Upon being struck by Leake's pitch, Harrison turned to the mound and mouthed something as he started his way down the first-base line. Leake came off the mound and appeared to challenge Harrison before Gorman stepped in. Afterward, Harrison declined to discuss the incident. "I'm not going to talk about that," said Harrison, sounding just as McCutchen had following Friday night's 3-0 loss. "It was hard to tell [whether Leake's pitch was intentional]; in the heat of the moment, things happen whether you mean them or not."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.