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The Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds continued their four-game series Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after tempers flared between the two NL Central clubs.
Wednesday night, Chicago manager David Ross was ejected in the top of the ninth inning after Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom was hit in the arm by a pitch from Cincinnati reliever Hunter Strickland.
Umpire Dan Merzel ejects Chicago Cubs manager David Ross in the ninth inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park May 25, 2022, in Cincinnati. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Tensions between the two teams had been building since the inning before when Cubs reliever Rowan Wick buzzed Reds first baseman Joey Votto with a 93 mph fastball in the bottom of the eighth.
Votto, who walked on four pitches, yelled at Wick on his way to first base. Wick appeared to say something to Votto after the walk, clearly angering Votto. The Reds first baseman continued to chirp at Wick once on first base, also yelling toward the Cubs dugout.
After Wisdom was hit in the top half of the next inning, Ross emerged from his dugout to argue with home plate umpire Dan Merzel and was quickly ejected.
“Joey (Votto) walking toward Wick, them hitting Wisdom, two umpires wanting to discuss whether they thought it was intentional or not and nobody doing that, I just wanted to know why,” Ross said. “Pretty commonplace when there’s a lot of jawing going on, that the umpires get together. They usually err on the side of warning.”
After the game, Votto told reporters his side of the story.
Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park May 25, 2022, in Cincinnati. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
“He had something to say and I answered,” Votto said after the game. “And that’s how ball is sometimes. You’re competitive, and clearly he [Wick] was competing and locked in on performing well. And I’m pulling on the opposite end of the same rope. And if someone says something to me, sometimes I don’t answer, but I wasn’t in the mood to keep my mouth shut. It’s part of the game. It can be one of the more enjoyable parts of the game.”
Chicago Cubs manager David Ross and umpire Chris Conroy argue after Ross was ejected in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park May 25, 2022, in Cincinnati. (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Votto also claimed Strickland did not hit Wisdom intentionally.
“You don’t put the tying run at the plate with one out,” Votto said. “That was absolutely unintentional. We are trying to win a baseball game and our closer’s coming in, and he just misfires a ball. We don’t get paid for retribution. We get paid to complete games, to perform well. The idea that he did that on purpose … In the ninth inning with two runs, what?”
Cincinatti won the game 4-3, moving to 13-30 on the season.
The Reds defeated the Cubs 20-5 Thursday to end their four-game series.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.