CINCINNATI (AP) — Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was ejected, but not dejected.
Scott Rolen tripled and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as the Cincinnati Reds won their fifth straight game, 5-4 over the Pirates.
Hurdle was tossed in the top of the second inning after both benches were warned following the second Pirates batter to be hit by a pitch in two nights.
Mike Leake plunked Josh Harrison with two outs, no one on base and the Reds leading 2-1. Harrison and Leake briefly exchange words, prompting plate umpire Brian Gorman to issue the warnings against further trouble.
Hurdle came out to discuss the decision and was ejected — for the third time this season — when the talk grew more heated.
"I was just taking a stand. I felt like we were getting a little bit of the short end of the stick there," Hurdle said.
"The wind's blowing out. You got to pitch in. For a warning at that point in time, we just disagreed. I didn't think it was the right call. I just wanted to see the game played on the field," he said.
The Reds have won 15 of 16 and opened a 5½-game lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central.
It was 4-all when Rolen led off the eighth with a line drive off the right-center field wall, beating the relay with a headfirst slide into third base. Todd Frazier hit a chopper that was fielded by pitcher Jared Hughes (2-1) too late to get Rolen at the plate.
"I saw it got over his head," Rolen said. "I was running hard. I took a little gamble with no outs but it worked out."
Hughes considered trying to get Rolen.
"The moment I looked home, I didn't have a good grip. I didn't want to throw it over his (catcher Michael McKenry's) head. I took the out," Hughes said.
The next batter Dioner Navarro hit a tapper up the first base line. Hughes made a hard tag, but denied that it was out of frustration.
"I had to make sure I held onto the ball," Hughes said. "If he comes at you hard, you have to go at him hard. It was a frustrating way to lose though."
Hurdle was happy with his team's effort.
"We're not going to quit," he said. "We're going to show up. It's a fun time of the year. You don't like the loss and we have to do a little better. The effort is there. I've come to expect our guys to be professional. Their focus is where it needs to be."
Jonathan Broxton (1-0), acquired on Tuesday from Kansas City, pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Aroldis Chapman worked the ninth for his 25th save. Continued...