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When Pirates and Reds play, somebody's going to get hit

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

PITTSBURGH – The Pirates and Reds can't seem to play a game in which someone doesn't get drilled with a pitch.

Friday, it was Andrew McCutchen in the eighth inning of Friday's 6-5 Reds win … and it was Pirates manager Clint Hurdle getting ejected.

It was the 23rd time a batter was hit by a pitch in a Reds-Pirates game this season. This time, it was Cincinnati reliever Sam LeCure drilling McCutchen with a 2-2 fastball to lead off the eighth inning.

Geez, all this intramural squabbling, it's as if Tony La Russa is still managing somewhere in the division.

Question now becomes, will this carry over into the rest of the weekend? Will A.J. Burnett line up any Cincinnati hitters for target practice Saturday? Because Pittsburgh lost such a devastating game Friday night, it's no given.

With only eight games left, Pittsburgh needs to worry about winning, not retaliating.

Hurdle's ejection came because the umpires warned both benches after LeCure hit McCutchen.

“Sometimes you just get to the point where you don't agree,” Hurdle said. “If you're going to warn because you think he intentionally hit the guy, then throw him out then.”

Neither McCutchen nor LeCure was talking afterward.

Reds manager Dusty Baker and several others cited the game situation as a way of saying it is ridiculous if any Pirate was thinking LeCure was intentionally throwing at McCutchen. It was late in the game and the Reds trailed 5-2 at the time.

“I've been playing baseball for a long time … the fans reacted a certain way, but for a squad full of veteran guys, I can't imagine why they would think it was on purpose,” Reds first baseman Joey Votto said. “It doesn't make any sense to me at all.

“Why would we put an MVP [type of player] on base when part of his game is stealing bases? I'm very confused.”

Pirates second baseman Neal Walker agreed with Votto, saying he didn't think in that particular situation the Reds would resort to funny business.

“It's a three-run game,” Walker said. “Andrew was leading off the inning. If there was intent, you wish it wasn't in the arm. You wish it was in the butt or the side or the leg.”

Walker figured that when LeCure wandered over toward first base to say something to McCutchen, he probably was explaining that it was an accident.

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