Reds, Brewers benches clear as Votto has words with Kratz

Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, center right, and Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen, center left, smile as they tussle after the benches cleared in the third inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI (AP) Joey Votto removed his helmet and exchanged words with Milwaukee catcher Erik Kratz during an at-bat in the third inning Thursday night, prompting the Brewers and Reds to clear the benches.

Players milled around the field briefly, many of them joking with one another, before returning to the benches and bullpens.

Votto thought he’d drawn a walk on a 3-1 pitch from Junior Guerra and started toward first base, but plate umpire Roberto Ortiz called it a strike. Votto and Kratz traded words as the Reds first baseman got back in the box, prompting their teammates to take to the field. When play resumed, Votto flied out.

Votto was ejected in Atlanta on Wednesday by plate umpire Carlos Torres for arguing a called third strike, his eighth career ejection.