CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was ejected after launching into a tirade after being denied a timeout, with teammates and even an umpire needing to hold him back Wednesday night in Cincinnati's 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Already having struck out twice, Votto had a 1-1 count with runners on first and second and one out in the eighth when he took a called second strike. He exchanged words with plate umpire Bill Welke, looked as if he was appealing to his dugout and was tossed. Votto slammed down his batting helmet, hollering and gesturing as he went nose-to-nose with Welke.
"My understanding is that Joey asked for time, and Welke didn't grant it," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "That's what got it started.
"When Joey looked over, that, to me, was my sign to get out there and make sure I had an understanding of what was going on in that situation. By the time I got there, Joey had been ejected," Price said. "At that point in time, I did not know, but by the time I got isolated with Bill at home plate, we did both come to the conclusion that Joey had asked for timeout, and Bill didn't feel like he was going to give him timeout for whatever -- due to whatever history had happened.
"So our argument is, of course, a guy asks for timeout, you give him timeout, and then you give him a certain period of time out of the box, and then you insist he gets back in the box or you put the ball in play. Those are some of the options."
The dispute quickly escalated, and Reds teammates intervened to restrain Votto, with first-base umpire Laz Diaz helping to prevent him from reaching Welke. Price also was ejected.
"You can argue about how you act when you're upset," Price said. "Joey was upset. Bill was upset. I was upset. There were a lot of upset people out there."
Votto had left the clubhouse when reporters arrived after the game. Welke declined to comment.
Votto was ejected after the Reds had scored once in the eighth to cut the Pirates' lead to 5-3. Ramon Cabrera batted for Votto and singled for his first major league hit.
The ejection was Votto's third this season. He also was ejected on May 6 in Pittsburgh and served a one-game suspension for bumping umpire Chris Conroy. Price was ejected for the third time also, including one before the start of a game in Cleveland on May 23.
Jung Ho Kang hit Pittsburgh's first grand slam of the season, a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning that gave the Pirates a 5-1 lead. The Pirates hold the top spot in the NL wild-card race.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.