PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle drew his sixth ejection of the season in the eighth inning of Friday night's game, for vehemently objecting to warnings being issued to both benches after Andrew McCutchen was drilled by Reds reliever Sam LeCure.
With the Pirates holding a three-run lead and McCutchen leading off, LeCure's 2-2 pitch got him under the left armpit.
Plate umpire Mark Carlson's warning-issuing wave toward both benches brought out Hurdle, who was rung up by Carlson after an escalating rhubarb.
"I don't understand the warning," Hurdle said after the Pirates' 6-5, 10-inning defeat. "If you're going to warn because you thought there was intent to hit the guy, you should've thrown the guy out. We're probably from two different schools on how the game should be played."
Pirates starter Francisco Liriano had twice come close to Cincinnati leadoff batter Shin-Soo Choo, who already leads the league by being plunked by pitches 25 times, but he did not hit him.
"[Carlson] cited one of those ... but no one was hit," Hurdle said.
Players in both uniforms believed McCutchen getting hit was accidental -- although red flags were raised because he became the 12th Pirates player hit this season by the Reds, who in turn have been plunked 11 times by Bucs pitchers.
"It's a squad full of veteran guys," Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto said of the Pirates. "I just can't imagine why they would think that we throw at him at that point. It doesn't make any sense to me at all. If they think that, why would we want to put an MVP-type guy on base when his game is stealing bases? We needed every run. If they think that, I'm surprised, but I can't imagine that's the case. We're just playing ball out there, and accidents happen. It's part of the game. I'm very confident Andrew knows that. "
"[LeCure] walked over and said something to Andrew, probably that he didn't mean to do that," Neil Walker noted. "That said a lot -- because you don't usually see that."
Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker was a little piqued by what he considered an over-reaction on Hurdle's part.
"I didn't understand why they were upset that we were trying to hit McCutchen," Baker said. "I told the umpire, 'Why would we throw at the fastest-running man in the league to lead off the inning in a three-run game?' You think I had Sam LeCure, my setup guy, out there for nothing? We were trying to keep the score the way it was. Common sense will tell you that it's not the time to hit somebody.
"You sort of wonder," added Baker. "They're leading the league in hit batsmen, but as soon as you come close to one of their guys, they say they pitch inside. Everybody needs to pitch inside. If you think about it logically, and McCutchen didn't do anything to warrant you hitting him. All he does is play. He's a great player. The umpire said he understood but got notice from the league that there is bad blood here.
"I think people keep it going, and every time somebody gets hit, everybody wants to know if there is going to be bad blood even before the game starts. I just wish they would let us play."
They will be allowed to play again Saturday night. And things just got a little more interesting.
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.Less