The Reds angrily battled back from a four-run deficit but fell a run short in a 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Joey Votto went ballistic on home plate umpire Bill Welke because the 31-year veteran umpire would not grant the Reds' best hitter time out.
"My understanding is that Joey asked for time and Welke didn't grant it," Bryan Price said. "That's what got it started. I know that Joey looked over to the dugout and that's my sign to get out there. He was already ejected before I could get there. Our argument is that if someone asks for time he should get it. Joey handled the situation professionally until he got upset. You can argue about how you act when your upset. Joey was upset. Bill (Welke) was upset. I was upset. There were a lot of upset people out there."
It looked like more of the same when Gregory Polanco led off the game with a ringing double into the leftcenter field gap. Starling Marte bunted him to third and Andrew McCutchen got Polanco home with a fly out to center.
Todd Frazier hit his 31st home run of the season off Pittsburgh starter, J.A. Happ to tie the game in the second inning.
Sampson held off the Pirates waiting for his teammates to giv him the lead but only got a single by Ivan De Jesus Jr. to justify his faith.
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"It was going to be Keyvius last inning. He put together nice innings. Kang was 0-for-4 against him this year. It was my decision. I'll own it," Price said. "We don't want five feel good innings. That doesn't do anyone any good. We need six or seven innings out of starters. I hope to see Keyvius get the opportunity to pitch through those innings and have success."
It was the first grand slam of the season for the Pirates and the seventh allowed by Cincinnati pitchers.
"We were going in on Kang all night and he hadn't caught up with it yet," Sampson said. "We kept the same game plan. I was trying to put it on the black but it wa over the plate. Anyone can hit that. I have to execute my pitches better."
Tony Watson entered the game in the eighth and the Reds put him in trouble right away. Pinch hitters Jason Bourgeois singled and Brayan Pena doubled but limped into second with a strained right hamstring. Pena was replaced by Ryan LaMarre. Billy Hamilton just off the disabled list walked to load the bases with no outs. De Jesus Jr. sent Polanco back to the fence for the Reds' second sacrifice fly of the game. Votto was ejected by home plate umpire Bill Welke for arguing a called strike two Reds' manager Bryan Price followed him minutes later.
It was the third time that Votto was ejected this season. The seventh time in his career. It was also the third time this season for Price and the fifth of his career.
Ramon Cabrera replaced Votto with a 1-2 count and dumped a single to reload the bases. It was his first Major League hit. Phillips dribbled a ground ball to the pitcher as LaMarre scored. Frazier was walked intentionally to set up a lefty-lefty matchup with Jay Bruce with the bases loaded. Bruce struck out on a checked swing.
The Pirates put runners on first and third with one out on a single by Francis Cervelli and a hit-and-run single by Jordy Mercer against Pedro Villarreal. Pinch hitter Michael Morse bounced into a 6-3 double play to keep the Reds within a run.
Mark Melancon came on to earn his 44th save in 46 tries.
Jason Bourgeois walked with one out, the second time he reached base in as many innings. Pinch hitter Skip Schumaker hit a soft line drive to short. Hamilton struck out on a 3-2 pitch to end the contest.