NEW YORK -- Reds left fielder Jesse Winker has gotten to know Mets fans over this series at Citi Field. Winker waved goodbye to them after both of the Reds’ wins in the four-game set at Citi Field.
“I love when the fans are into the game,” Reds manager David Bell said. “They are being entertained, enjoying it. That’s why we are out here.”
But Mets fans were able to get the last laugh when Winker and Bell were ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the ninth inning of Thursday’s 1-0 loss.
Winker started arguing with home-plate umpire Marty Foster after a called strike that made it an 0-2 count. Just as Foster ejected Winker, Bell came in between them and was also tossed.
Both Winker and Bell declined to say what was said between them and Foster. All Bell wanted to talk about was the pitching performances of Reds right-hander Tyler Mahle and Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard.
“The story of the game is never the umpire,” Bell said. “It’s the players. In fact, today, Noah Syndergaard pitched a great game. Our guy pitched just as well. … [Mahle] was very impressive other than the home run to Syndergaard, who can really hit.”
Said Winker: “You never want to get ejected in the ninth inning. You really don’t want to get ejected at all.”
Winker made his presence felt earlier in the series.
Winker made the last out of the Reds' 1-0 victory Wednesday night with a slick sliding catch along the left-field line, up close and personal with Mets fans hanging over the wall in foul ground. After securing the ball, he looked up at them, smiled and waved.
All this after Winker had hit a go-ahead home run off Edwin Diaz in the ninth inning on Monday night. After the Reds put the Mets away in the bottom of that frame, Winker turned around and waved at the fans beyond the left-field wall. The following night, the Mets faithful let him hear it in the outfield.
“I’m just having fun. I’m just playing baseball," Winker said before Thursday's series finale. "The fans like to talk out there and a lot. I just like to talk back, but I think waving back [is better]. I’m just wishing them goodnight and have a good drive home. ... I don’t think they like that, but that’s fine. It is fun. If they are taking it too seriously, I think that’s on them.”
The Reds and Mets split the four-game series in Queens and don’t face each other again until Sept. 20 in Cincinnati.