Interim manager Jim Riggleman got to watch all but 13 minutes of the longest Cincinnati Reds game of the season.
An argument with home plate umpire Eric Cooper led to the ejection of Riggleman in the top of the 12th inning Tuesday, just after the Chicago White Sox had scored four runs to take a 12-8 lead. That score held up when Brandon Dixon, Adam Duvall and Tucker Barnhart struck out in the bottom of the inning — four hours and 36 minutes after the game began at Great American Ball Park.
Miscommunication between Riggleman and Cooper led to an exchange of words. Riggleman called for an intentional walk of Daniel Palka. Cooper didn’t see Riggleman hold up four fingers, which is how managers call for intentional walks.
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Portions of the argument could be heard on the Fox Sports Ohio broadcast.
“I need a sign,” Cooper yelled.
“I said to put him on,” Riggleman said.
“Well, I don’t hear it,” Cooper said. “I need to see something.”
Then Cooper added, “Do your job.”
At that, Riggleman raced out of the dugout to confront Cooper, who ejected him as soon as he reached home plate. Riggleman got in Cooper’s face, and the catcher, Barnhart, had to hold him back at times.
Riggleman didn’t miss much after he departed for the clubhouse. The damage had been done. Earlier in the inning, Yoan Moncada’s bases-loaded triple against Jackson Stephens with one out broke the tie. Yolmer Sanchez followed with another triple to score Moncada.
The Reds blew a 7-2 lead by giving up four runs in the sixth and one in the eighth and then lost an 8-7 lead when Avisail Garcia hit a home run against Raisel Iglesias in the ninth. The frustration of the defeat had something to do with the incident in the 12th.
“I was letting him know we were walking them (intentionally),” Riggleman said, “and I guess as I was throwing four fingers up and he would turn his head and then he would look back and my four fingers weren’t up. He made some comment about that. I kind of lost it when I heard the comment he made. That’s a product of the way the game went.”
The loss slowed the momentum — at least for one night — of a team that has been the best in baseball since June 10. The Reds fell to 37-49 as their three-game winning streak ended. They also saw the end of their six-game winning streak in interleague play. It was the first time they had won six straight games against American League teams in the regular season.
Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani, who turned in his worst start of the season by allowing five earned runs on six hits, including three home runs, in 5 1/3 innings, didn’t think the nature of the defeat would affect the Reds moving forward.
“We’ve been playing too good of baseball to get hung up on this one game,” DeSclafani said. “We’ve been so positive and so upbeat. I don’t think this game is going to effect us one bit. I think we’re going to get right back on the horse tomorrow and keep playing some good baseball. It was a long night, but we’ll be ready to go. We’ll have an off day and then we’ve got a lot of fun days coming up here on this next road trip.”