Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle implied Sunday that Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto intentionally threw at star outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the eighth inning and with two outs and a runner on second base, Cueto hit McCutchen in the back. Cueto didn't hit any other batters or have any walks the rest of his outing.
Hurdle didn't outright accuse Cueto but suggested that he believed Cueto intentionally hit McCutchen. Reds manager Bryan Price denied any intent on Cueto's part, saying the team was more worried about facing Neil Walker, who came to bat after McCutchen.
"It's another one of those funny situations," Hurdle said. "[Cueto] hasn't come close to anybody all day, and you have a base open, and a guy gets squared up in the back."
"There's a memory bank in every man and you just file things away."
The Pirates finished the season having hit more batters than any other team, with 88. The Reds were tied with two other teams for second-most with 69. Cueto was second in MLB in hit batters with 15.
McCutchen went on the disabled list in August with a rib injury after he was hit by a pitch by the Arizona Diamondbacks, though at the time Pittsburgh didn't believe McCutchen's injury was a result of the hit-by-pitch. All told, McCutchen was hit 10 times this season.
The Pirates and Reds have a history of contentiousness surrounding hit batters dating to last season, when players were hit by a pitch 28 times in regular season games between the teams. Various incidents resulted in ejections and each side accusing the other of intentional hit-by-pitches.
After losing to Cincinnati on Sunday, Pittsburgh will host the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday in the National League Wild Card game. The Reds missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011 after finishing the season at 76-86.
- Ben Estes