WASHINGTON (AP) — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper got hit by a pitch and soon left the field. Then Reds star Joey Votto got hit and immediately went off — on the Nats.
The second game of a doubleheader turned testy Saturday night after a pair of former NL MVPs got plunked during Washington’s 6-2 win for a split.
In the sixth inning, Harper was hit in the right kneecap by Austin Brice. Harper initially struggled to put any weight on his leg, but ultimately made his way to first base.
But Harper labored defensively chasing after a double by Mason Williams in the seventh and was immediately replaced in right field by Adam Eaton.
“It hurts,” Harper said. “I’ll see where I’m at (Sunday) and go from there.”
In the eighth, Votto was hit for the second time in the game, nailed in the leg by Ryan Madson’s first pitch.
Votto gestured at Madson as he took first base. After being retired on a forceout at second to end the inning, Votto waved at Washington’s dugout, prompting plate umpire Andy Fletcher to warn both teams.
Cincinnati interim manager Jim Riggleman said the Madson pitch “certainly appeared (intentional). The only person who knows is the person who threw the pitch.”
That person says the Reds had the wrong read.
“No. I didn’t mean to hit him,” Madson said. “Definitely didn’t mean to hurt him. Nothing like that. Hopefully, he’s OK.”
Votto, who also was hit in the first inning, remained in the game. He was not available to reporters after it was over.
“I was just in pain,” Harper said. “There was no point in being out there.”
Washington’s Spencer Kieboom was hit in the seventh.
The Reds won a tame opener 7-1 before tempers flared.
Anthony Rendon had a pair of RBI doubles and Matt Adams homered in the second game for Washington.
Jose Peraza led off the game with a homer for Cincinnati and Eugenio Suarez hit his 26th home run.
The Nationals scored single runs in each of the opening five innings against Matt Harvey (5-7).
“It was kind of a battle from beginning,” Harvey said. “It’s never good when you give up a run every inning. It’s obviously not ideal.”
Jeremy Hellickson (5-2) pitched into the sixth. The Nationals have won four of five.
In the opener, Cincinnati starter Anthony DeSclafani (5-3) allowed one run in seven innings, stopping Washington’s three-game winning streak.
The Reds had six runs and 10 hits against Gio Gonzalez (6-8), who lasted only 3 2/3 innings. He has lost seven straight decisions.
“If I knew the answer to that, it’d be a different outcome,” Gonzalez said of his struggles. “Right now, I’m just trying to battle through whatever I’m going through. Hopefully start catching my breaks. Tide will change.”
Phillip Ervin hit a three-run homer and Brandon Dixon had a solo shot as the Reds snapped a three-game losing streak.
Reds pitcher Jesus Reyes made his major league debut in the bottom of the seventh. He hit Kieboom, the first batter faced, with a pitch before settling down for two innings of scoreless relief.
Reds: Brice was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to serve as the 26th man for the second game. He replaced Harvey in the fifth, hit Harper with a pitch and allowed one run in two innings.
Nationals: Pitcher Stephen Strasburg, put on the 10-day DL retroactive to July 22, is eligible to return, but when he will remains unclear. “Every day, he’s progressing. There’s no real timeline right now,” manager Davey Martinez said. “Hopefully, he’s feeling good enough in the next week or so he can get off the mound, throw a bullpen. We’ll see. He’s definitely progressing in that direction.”
Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (6-8, 4.98) allowed six earned runs over five innings in Cincinnati’s 13-7 home loss to Washington on March 31.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (5-12, 4.37) is 2-0 in last two starts with 18 strikeouts and one earned run over 15 innings.
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