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Benches clear after Votto-Kratz argument

Both players downplay incident as 'a little bit of a misunderstanding'
MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- An argument between Joey Votto and Brewers catcher Erik Kratz was over before it started in the third inning of the Brewers' 6-4 win over the Reds on Thursday at Great American Ball Park.

Votto got ahead, 3-1, in the count on Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra and started walking toward first base after he took a fastball on the outside corner. Home-plate umpire Roberto Ortiz called the offering a strike and Votto had words for Ortiz. As the Reds slugger stepped back into the batter's box, he and Kratz exchanged words. Both benches cleared, and both bullpens joined the throng soon after.

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CINCINNATI -- An argument between Joey Votto and Brewers catcher Erik Kratz was over before it started in the third inning of the Brewers' 6-4 win over the Reds on Thursday at Great American Ball Park.

Votto got ahead, 3-1, in the count on Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra and started walking toward first base after he took a fastball on the outside corner. Home-plate umpire Roberto Ortiz called the offering a strike and Votto had words for Ortiz. As the Reds slugger stepped back into the batter's box, he and Kratz exchanged words. Both benches cleared, and both bullpens joined the throng soon after.

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"No deal with him," Votto said. "There was just a little bit of a misunderstanding at the plate, and other than both of us standing our ground, there was really nothing to it."

No punches were thrown and players from the two sides could be seen playfully putting their arms around one another. The crowd around home plate quickly dispersed and no ejections occurred as the two sides got back to the action. Votto flied out to left field on the next pitch.

"He's a great player," Kratz said. "He's doing what he does, and we're just competing. It wasn't anything. It looked bigger than it really was."

"Completely blown out of proportion, that's all," Kratz added. "We were discussing the Canadian dollar and flawed systems in our two governments. He was coming from a different side of it, and we were just discussing those kinds of things."

Kratz drew a walk in the seventh inning and strolled toward Votto at first base. The two appeared to have a cordial conversation as they put the minor dustup in the rearview mirror.

"I've played against him for a while," Votto said. "We've both grown. I think we can say our piece and move on from it, and really, I think it escalated into something that wasn't necessarily. That's pretty standard for ball -- two players have a disagreement and both sides kind of get in the middle of it. It was nothing."

Brian Scott Rippee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Erik Kratz, Joey Votto