MILWAUKEE -- Reds center fielder Tyler Holt already had created chaos trying to steal home on the Brewers in the fourth inning of what became a 7-6 victory. But it escalated into a wild sequence of events that culminated with the ejection of Cincinnati starter Alfredo Simon.
The Brewers held a 2-1 lead in the fourth when things got interesting with two outs as Simon batted against Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson. On third base, Holt broke for home before Anderson, while falling off the mound, hit Simon with a pitch on the left leg as he was showing bunt.
"That was just a straight steal of home plate against a guy going from the wind-up and wasn't paying any attention to Holt," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Alfredo wanted to give a deke right there; pivot and turn as if he was going to put down a squeeze, and he got hit by a pitch."
Simon was angered about being hit, which happened just as Holt was sliding across the plate. Holt was sent back to third base as a result.
"I think they saw our guy run to home plate and they tried to hit me so the guy could go back to third," Simon said.
No warnings were issued, however.
"I saw the guy going and tried to rush the pitch home and maybe get a tag," Anderson said. "It slipped out of my hand and hit him in the leg. It definitely was not on purpose."
Holt thought he might have been safe had Simon not been hit by the pitch.
"[Simon] saw me take off, I believe, squared around to kind of block the catcher which is a great heads-up play by him because there was no sign," Holt said. "He tried to get out of the way and got hit by a pitch."
Price believed that Anderson tried to hit Simon and tried to convey that to the umpires.
"That's one way to defend it; a squeeze or a steal of home," Price said. "Because Holt broke so early, I think it was very apparent that it was not a squeeze but a steal of home. He hit the pitcher, which ends up killing the play right there."
Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy countered that Anderson simply panicked and overthrew the ball.
"Nothing was on purpose, believe me," said Lucroy, who talked to Simon after the play. "That would be the most heads-up baseball play I've ever seen in my life with a reaction, especially if we're going away."
Anderson, who had hit Eugenio Suarez and Tucker Barnhart with pitches in the second, led off against Simon in the bottom of the fifth and took a first-pitch fastball inside. On the next pitch, he was drilled with the 1-0 fastball between the shoulders and up near the head. Simon was immediately ejected by plate umpire James Hoye. Benches appeared poised to empty, but the umpires were able to maintain the peace as Price, Simon and Barnhart argued.
Was Simon's plunking of Anderson intentional?
"I have no comment at all," Simon replied.
Price's argument with umpires lasted about five solid minutes, but he was not ejected. A.J. Morris entered from the bullpen and later in the inning, gave up Lucroy's two-run homer that closed out Simon's line for the day.
Simon finished with four innings, three runs (two earned), three hits, two walks and one strikeout. Badly in need of a strong outing after he entered the day with a 10.16 ERA, he was enjoying a decent day. Although he had a two-run bottom of the first inning, he didn't allow a hit after Aaron Hill's infield hit in the first and retired 10 of 11 batters before hitting Anderson with the controversial pitch.
Anderson did not return for the sixth inning and was replaced by reliever Carlos Torres, but he was not hurt from being hit by Simon.
"No, I think we took Chase out for several reasons, among them was getting hit in the back of the right shoulder," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Long inning. Just an emotional inning. So, several factors."