Via:MLB.com By Mark Sheldon
CINCINNATI — With some venomous words, a kick of a bat and then some additional kicks to players’ bodies, the National League Central race between the Reds and Cardinals moved into another dimension — a nasty one.
Instead of it just being two teams that respect each other frequently exchanging leads in the standings, a second bitter layer was added Tuesday because of a bench-clearing scuffle during the Reds’ 8-4 loss to the Cardinals at Great American Ball Park.
At the center of it all was Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who trashed the Cardinals during a pregame interview Monday.
In the bottom of the first inning, Phillips was leading off and walked to the plate. Per his customary practice, Phillips tried to offer friendly taps with his bat to the shin guards of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and home-plate umpire Mark Wegner. Molina, who wanted no part of such pleasantry, kicked Phillips’ bat away.
Molina then stepped on home plate in front of Phillips and got in his face while yelling. Phillips talked back, and once Molina took off his mask, the benches and bullpens cleared.
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