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Joey Votto homers, triples, has words with Wick

The Cincinnati Reds first baseman has a big day at the plate, and causes the Cubs to lose their cool and have manager David Ross tossed over nothing

Jeffrey May
The Cincinnati Reds first baseman has a big day at the plate, and causes the Cubs to lose their cool and have manager David Ross tossed over nothing
Katie StratmanUSA TODAY Sports

The Cubs can’t help themselves. Even in a game against one of the worst baseball teams ever fielded, they just implode.

Visiting the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, the Cubs let game three of their four-game series slip through their fingers. It wasn’t entirely theirs to lose, with Joey Votto showing some explosive hitting for the Machine, going 2 for 3 with a home run and a triple, plus a costly walk.

With the Cubs out to an early two-run lead, the Reds first-baseman, one of the few bright spots in the Cincinnati season so far, hit a solo shot off of Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks in the second inning to cut the lead in half. That makes the first home run that Votto has hit in Cincinnati this season and his fifth career blast off of Hendricks.

In the third inning, the Cubs gave up back-to-back singles and scored on a fielder’s choice to level the game before Votto knocked one into the right field corner for a two-run triple. This marks the first time since way back in 2010 that Joey Votto has had a home run and a triple in the same game.

Perhaps it was the frustration of possibly dropping this third game to the Reds, especially the Reds, that had the Cubs out of sorts. On Tuesday, they had decisively spanked Cincinnati 11-4 and with the Cubs sitting 9.5 games back in the NL Central, this is no time to let your guard down. Or just maybe it was good old-fashioned competitiveness that led to the events later in the game.

Not that the Cubs didn’t have their own chances. A two-out double by Morel in the fifth came to nothing when Luis Castillo caught Rafael Ortega looking for the second time. Several base hits were robbed by outstanding play in the Cincinnati outfield as well.

But the strangest interaction took place in the bottom of the eighth, when reliever Rowan Wick threw a first pitch high and tight to Joey Votto. There was no indication that Votto or the Reds felt that it was intentional, but Wick stared Votto down throughout his reset. Losing Votto on a four-ball walk, Wick then seemingly took offense to Votto’s throwing the bat as he trotted to the base and said something along the lines of “walk motherf***er” to Votto. Votto replied “F*** you” and there was a prolonged period of shouting between the runner on first base and the Cubs dugout, leading the first base umpire to tell them to cool it.

In the top of the ninth, with the score still 4-2 and one out, Reds closer Hunter Strickland hit Patrick Wisdom with a pitch inside. Cubs manager David Ross shot out of the dugout, irate at what he believed to be a tit-for-tat play by the Reds. Home plate umpire Dan Merzel wasted no time at all in tossing him.

That HBP would come good for Chicago as Nico Hoerner knocked Wisdom in a few batters later to draw the Cubs to within a run, but Strickland caught Morel swinging at a low and outside slider to end the game with a Reds 4-3 victory.

The true tale of the match was the outstanding play in the field by Cincinnati, in particular center fielder Nick Senzel who had a sensational defensive game. But the way that Chicago simply lost their head, both on the mound and then later at the bat was the key to dropping this game to one of the worst teams in baseball. When the Cubs dugout started shouting at Joey Votto, they lost any competitive edge that they might have had. Leading from the front, David Ross blew a gasket over nothing, a ball that in no way could be construed to be thrown at Wisdom, and the Cubs came out upside down on the score board.

Chicago needs to take a look at their own emotions before today’s game if they want to come away winning the series. And at only six games adrift the Cardinals halfway to the All-Star break, they can’t afford to let this season slip away from them. With the White Sox and the division leaders Milwaukee coming up, they need to be cool, calm, and collected.


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