CINCINNATI, Ohio (Cincinnati Enquirer) - The Reds’ 6-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs Saturday before a crowd of 41,360 at Great American Ball Park was largely unmemorable.
Then things got out of hand.
According to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer, with two outs in the eighth, Pedro Strop hit Yasiel Puig with a 3-0 pitch. Puig dropped his bat, gestured toward Strop, shouted something, then started toward the mound.
Both dugouts and bullpens emptied. No punches were thrown. In fact, there wasn't much pushing or shoving. But Puig had to be held back.
"In the heat of the game, he throws at me with the ball," Puig said. "We jaw back and forth. The bullpens and the dugouts clear. The lesson today is nothing happened. Nobody got hurt for the moment. I talk with my teammates. Going out and winning the game is more important than throwing the ball (at) another team."
Both benches were warned after the incident. Reds manager David Bell was ejected for arguing with home-plate umpire Mark Wagner after Dillon Maples hit Jose Peraza with a pitch in the ninth. It was Bell’s sixth ejection, tying a team record.
“I don’t like when our guys get hit," Bell said. "We care about our players and we don’t like them getting hit. Yasiel got hit and both teams got warned and then Jose got it. It was a matter of not liking our guys get hit.”
Wagner on why he didn't throw Maples out: "I didn't think it was intentional."
Puig said he had no history with Strop. Strop had some strong words on Puig.
"It's no secret he's stupid," Strop told reporters. "He stupid as (blank). I have nothing against him, but he's stupid."
The Reds entered the game with a 5-2 record against the Cubs this year. The teams meet Sunday in the rubber game of the series.
That was Puig's focus – mostly.
“We’re going out (Sunday) and throw the ball (at) somebody,” Puig said. “Somebody’s going to get hurt or somebody going to get thrown out and get suspended by (MLB discipline chief) Joe Torre. He watches the games. He only wants to suspend the batter. He does nothing to the pitcher. The pitcher has the ball in his hand and throws the ball (at) us. Later, he suspends us. Why? I do nothing. The guy’s got the ball. He throws the ball (at) me. What am I supposed to do? Do nothing?”
It was a 1-0 game going into the eighth. David Hernandez, Zach Duke and Jared Hughes, the three veterans in the bullpen, combined to give up four runs in the eighth and blow open an otherwise tight game.
Presumptive All-Star Luis Castillo went seven innings and allowed one run on three hits. He walked three and struck out six. He threw 101 pitches, 62 of which were strikes. His only mistake? A slider that Jason Heyward hit out for a home run.
“I saw really good results," Castillo said. "We were working really hard. During the game, (pitching coach) Derek Johnson was telling me that you’re doing really well.”
Castillo was coming off his worst outing of the year. He went 3 2/3 innings and allowed six runs (four) earned in a 6-5 loss to the Brewers in Milwaukee a week ago. He walked five and struck six in that one.
He was sharp from the start on Saturday. He struck out the side in the first.
Castillo was two outs into the second when he left a first-pitch, 85-mph slider over the plate for Heyward. Heyward hit it out to right for his 13th home run of the year and second in as many nights.
"I was trying to go backdoor with the slider," Castillo said. "He put a good swing on it and hit a homer.”
Castillo pulled off an incredible escape act the fifth. The Cubs loaded the bases with no outs on a walk, an infield hit and an error. But Castillo struck out Jose Quintana and got Kyle Schwarber to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. The Cubs asked for a replay, but the call stood.
"(Castillo made) a lot of big pitches," Bell said. "He pitched well. Even though runners were on, he came up with big pitches, and good defensive plays and double plays and made pitches when he had to. He was back on track today.”
The Reds had back-to-back, one-out hits in the first and second, but both rallies fizzled. Quintana began a roll with his escape in the second. He retired 11 in a row.
Joey Votto broke that string with his second hit of the game and sixth of the series to lead off the sixth. Jose Iglesias singled two outs later, but the Reds failed to cash in again.
Hernandez took over for Castillo and allowed a single to pinch-hitter David Bote to start the eighth. An out later, Kris Bryant doubled. The Reds brought in Duke to faced Anthony Rizzo. Duke walked Rizzo on four pitches to load the bases.
Hughes then came on to face Javier Baez.
Baez hit one out the opposite way to right for a grand slam to make it 5-0.