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Wild ninth ends Cubs' way in walk-off win

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

HICAGO -- Joe Maddon got tired of what he called "playing good in the sandbox," and was ejected in the ninth inning on Wednesday night just before the Cubs tallied the game-winning run on a walk-off wild pitch for a 7-6 win over the Reds at Wrigley Field.

"That's one of those you need to get thrown out on," Chicago pitcher John Lackey said of the argument. "There's some times when the manager needs to go."

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HICAGO -- Joe Maddon got tired of what he called "playing good in the sandbox," and was ejected in the ninth inning on Wednesday night just before the Cubs tallied the game-winning run on a walk-off wild pitch for a 7-6 win over the Reds at Wrigley Field.

"That's one of those you need to get thrown out on," Chicago pitcher John Lackey said of the argument. "There's some times when the manager needs to go."

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Here's what happened: The Reds had erased the Cubs' 6-1 lead and tied the game on Adam Duvall's two-run homer in the eighth. Javier Baez doubled to lead off the Chicago ninth against Wandy Peralta. Pinch-hitter Jon Jay walked, and Ben Zobrist then trotted to first after being hit by a pitch. At least that's what Zobrist thought. First-base umpire Chris Conroy said Zobrist had shown bunt, which prompted an animated argument from Maddon, who was ejected.

 "I don't even know what to say about that call," Maddon said. "That call cannot be made under those circumstances."

Video: CIN@CHC: Maddon discusses call on Zobrist's at-bat

Zobrist regrouped and grounded out, which advanced both runners. Blake Wood took over for Peralta, and struck out Albert Almora Jr. But Wood's first pitch to Kris Bryant was a slider that bounced a foot outside of the plate and skipped away from catcher Tucker Barnhart. Baez scored from third to give the Cubs the win.

"It's a good win for us -- we haven't walked off in a while," Anthony Rizzo said. "Tucker Barnhart was really good behind there. He's a really good blocker. [The ball] didn't get fully by him but that's a great read by Javy there to score that run."

However, Zobrist was still ticked -- and had a nice bruise on his left leg to show for it.

"I guess [Conroy] wanted me to pull the bat back, but there was nowhere for me to go," Zobrist said. "[The ball] started right at me, and was going toward my ankle. I could not physically pull the bat back and pull my ankle up at the same time. I chose to pull my ankle up. [Conroy] thought I was offering it."

Maddon charged out of the dugout to argue.

"I can understand if the guy is actually swinging and all of a sudden you get a checked swing," Maddon said. "There's no way any hitter in those circumstances, with the ball coming at his thigh, is going to bunt through it and get hit in the thigh. That's asinine. And that almost cost us the game."

Video: CIN@CHC: Maddon ejected after Zobrist HBP reversed

As Maddon went into the clubhouse, he complained to anyone and everyone he came across.

"That impacted the game," Maddon said. "It's bases loaded, nobody out. Everything's different. The world rotates differently at that point.

"To influence a game like that is wrong," Maddon said. "Listen, [Conroy] is a good guy, I think he's a good umpire. I'm not going to concede consistently to these guys. You can't make a mistake like that."

Zobrist was puzzled, too.

"I don't know how I could've gotten out of the way or pulled the bat back because of where the ball was at," he said. "I certainly wasn't trying to bunt.

"We won the game, which is the bottom line," Zobrist said. "In hindsight, I'm glad we were able to get it done. I would've probably continued to be livid if we hadn't [won]. It would've been hard to go back on the field and not be upset at that."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Ben Zobrist