Yasiel Puig’s short stay in Cincinnati ended with a bang Tuesday.
Just as the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds agreed to a deal involving Puig, the fiery outfielder prolonged a massive benches-clearing brawl in Cincinnati’s 11-4 loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park.
Puig was still in the game as reports of the three-team trade — part of which sent Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer to the Reds — surfaced.
His summary of the inning when asked about it after the game: “That’s crazy.”
The brawl started in the top of the ninth, but tensions were sparked innings earlier when Pittsburgh’s Keone Kela threw up-and-in to Derek Dietrich in the seventh. In April, Dietrich admired one of his homers at PNC Park, and that led to a benches-clearing clash in that game.
“I just wanted to show them that we didn’t agree with the way things went down, and you have to pitch in,” Kela said. “I was just doing my part.”
After the inning, Reds first baseman Joey Votto walked toward the Pirates dugout and exchanged words with Kela, but plate umpire Larry Vanover got in front of Votto.
The ejections started in the eighth, when Reds manager David Bell was tossed for arguing a strike call with Puig at bat. Reds reliever Jared Hughes was ejected in the ninth for hitting Starling Marte with his first pitch.
“The ball just slipped, and it was real unfortunate, and a lot of bad things happened afterward,” Hughes said.
Amir Garrett came on to pitch for the Reds, exchanged words with the Pirates, sprinted toward the dugout and threw a couple of punches to spark the brawl. The 6-foot-5 Garrett was dragged to the ground by roughly half the Pirates team before backup arrived.
Bell was among the first Reds to join the fray and had to be separated from Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who was celebrating his 62nd birthday. Bell later helped restrain Puig, who reignited the melee with more shouting and shoving.
Jeff Passan describes the lead-up to the brawl between the Pirates and Reds and expects many big suspensions to come down.
Bell pointed blame at the Pirates and their manager.
“It didn’t surprise us because that’s kinda been going on all year,” he said. “I say it didn’t surprise us, but I can’t tell you how disappointing it is that it’s still going on, and nothing’s been done about it. But we’ve talked about it enough, but it’s a shame that this is allowed. They’re able to get away with it, they celebrate it, they support it, they clearly allow it. I don’t know if they teach it, but they allow it. It’s dangerous. I mean, you can go on and on about so many things wrong about it, and at some point it’s bigger than the game of baseball, and it’s just too bad that nothing’s done about it.”
Puig — acquired by the Reds in an offseason trade with the Dodgers — and Garrett were among the multiple players and coaches ejected.
Bell faces a suspension after running onto the field to join the fracas after being ejected an inning earlier. He was put in a headlock by Pirates hitting coach Rick Eckstein, got himself out and shouted at Hurdle.
In all, five Reds were ejected: Bell, Garrett, Puig, Hughes and bench coach Freddie Benavides.
Three Pirates got the hook: pitchers Chris Archer and Kyle Crick and catcher Francisco Cervelli, who is on the injured list.
After the game, Garrett said he was upset about Kela’s up-and-in pitch to Dietrich.
“I definitely do think they teach that in that organization,” Garrett said. “I don’t think it’s right to throw at somebody. That’s not something you should do. If you have a problem, handle it like a man.”
Puig and Garrett were among five ejected after the Dietrich home run led to a brawl when the teams played in early April at PNC Park. That one started when Archer threw a 93 mph fastball behind Dietrich’s back.
Puig again was at the center, reigniting the brawl after it appeared to calm down when he charged toward Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams at home plate, then grabbed Pittsburgh bench coach Tom Prince and tried to put him in a headlock.
Overall, Puig has been ejected three times this season, the most in the majors.
The three-game series resumes Wednesday in Cincinnati. Asked what he’d tell his teammates ahead of the quick turnaround, Hughes said, “Shower well, rinse it off, come back tomorrow ready to win.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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