When the temperatures rise in August, often so do tensions in Major League Baseball.
For teams with little or nothing to play for, the dog days of summer can be time when tempers flare, which is what happened Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati.
The Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates were all kinds of fired up after Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips took exception to being plunked with a pitch. Earlier in the series, Reds outfielder Marlon Byrd was hit with a pitch. On Sunday, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen was hit with a pitch, too. Obviously thinking he was the subject of retaliation, Phillips started toward the mound.
That was the spark that was needed to ignite something even bigger, as the two teams cleared the benches. That led to almost 10 minutes of pushing, shoving and yelling between the two clubs.
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Pirates closer Mark Melancon was also ejected in the ninth inning after hitting a batter.
Thumbnail photo via David Kohl/USA TODAY Sports Images