As the pennant race mounts so to does the pressure–and the tempers as the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates exchanged some pleasantries during Wednesday’s game.
Both benches were warned after a pitch from Shelby Miller went behind Andrew McCutchen in the 6th inning. That was preceded by Matt Holliday and Matt Adams being hit in the 5th inning by Edison Volquez.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the warning with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa. “My argument is that (Miller) is hitting in a tea cup all day, he’s not even near anybody–then he fires that pitch,” said Hurdle. Miller turned in one of his best starts of the season–7 IP, 3 hits, 3 BB, 5 Ks.
“If he hits him, maybe he tosses him,” said Hurdle. “I had the conversation with (Kulpa).”
Between innings, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and Yadier Molina were among those yelling across the field at Hurdle and the Pirates bench.
“The reason it got loud is their bench took a lot offense to it and started screaming at our bench and that’s something we take offense to,” explained Matheny. “There’s emotion that goes into this game and we’re not going to take them out. We take our job very seriously. We take our team very seriously as well. That situation it’s just emotions flying high, that’s it.”
The feeling was a little different on the opposite side of the diamond.
“From my perspective, it was an ambush,” stated Hurdle. “It was a cheap shot. Ron’s gotta make the call he makes–that’s the call he chose to make.”
“It’s two teams competing,” said Miller. “Against a tough lineup, it’s a simple as that. Just two teams competing.”
“He missed me, no harm done,” said McCutchen. “They had their shot and they missed me, so we move on from there–and I just missed a homer. Almost. Until next time.”
McCutchen also shared he didn’t mind Carlos Martinez’ exuberant walk off the mound following a strikeout of the centerfielder to end the 8th inning–but cautioned that the Cardinals should not get upset when he or another Pirate stares, flips the bat, and “pimps” a home run down the road.
Matheny-Hurdle-Miller-McCutchen discuss being warned and ensuing conversations…
McCutcheon on the strikeout and celebration from Carlos Martinez…
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports