CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Amir Garrett got pretty animated after he struck out Cubs second baseman Javier Baez to end the top of the seventh inning. Baez took exception to Garrett's excitement, and that was all it took for the benches to clear in Game 1 of a split doubleheader
CINCINNATI -- Reds reliever Amir Garrett got pretty animated after he struck out Cubs second baseman Javier Baez to end the top of the seventh inning. Baez took exception to Garrett's excitement, and that was all it took for the benches to clear in Game 1 of a split doubleheader Saturday afternoon.
The Reds went on to win in the 11th inning, 5-4, on Billy Hamilton's walk-off walk.
"To be honest, I don't control why he does it," Baez said of Garrett. "He can do whatever he wants. I mean, he stared at me and he's frustrated because I got a home run off him last year. Grand slam, four RBIs. Right now, anybody can strike me out, because I'm struggling."
Cincinnati was leading, 4-2, when Garrett entered in the seventh and issued a leadoff walk to Kyle Schwarber and erased him with a Victor Caratini double play. Garrett fell into a 2-1 count against Baez, but got back-to-back whiffs for strike three.
Garrett could be seen yelling in excitement from the mound, then stared at Baez, who approached him with some words of his own. Players on the field, as well as from the benches and bullpens, then intervened. Video showed the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo and Albert Almora Jr. leading the efforts to go after Garrett behind Baez.
"I always play the game with a lot of emotion. Today was just one of those days," Garrett said. "It's always high when you come out and play against the Cubs. I love Javy Baez as a player. I love the way he plays the game as a player, but if you are going to dish it, sometimes you have to take it. That's how it goes. There are no hard feelings. It is over with."
Exactly one year and one day ago, on May 18 at Wrigley Field, Baez faced Garrett and slugged the first grand slam of his career. Baez took a few moments to watch the ball carry before departing the batter's box in that game.
"That's just how the game goes. He got me, I got him. We are even," Garrett said. "We are going to have plenty more matchups going forward."
Order was quickly restored and no punches appeared to be thrown. Umpires also issued no ejections. Garrett was lifted for a pinch-hitter with the pitcher's spot due up first in the bottom of the seventh.
Baez is enduring a 2-for-18 road trip entering Game 2 of the doubleheader. Meanwhile, Garrett has thrived in a bullpen role after being a starter last year. He has a 1.35 ERA in 21 appearances.
"[Baez is] getting really frustrated, and I talked to him about it. He's just frustrated," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said about the confrontation. "He had such a wonderful start, and he wants to continue along those lines."
While Baez had players taking up for him, so did Garrett. Several got between him and Cubs players -- including imposing Reds bench coach Pat Kelly.
"My team has my back 100 percent, and I love it, all the guys coming out like that," Garrett said. "It shows camaraderie, and you feel a sense of security when they come out like that. Nothing was going to happen. We weren't going to take it past fighting to that extent, because it's just not in the game."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.