CINCINNATI — Charlie Morton pitched five-hit ball for seven innings, Neil Walker hit a review-aided home run and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 Sunday in a testy game in which benches cleared after stars Andrew Mcutchen and Brandon Phillips were hit by pitches.
Pushing and shoving ensued in the eighth after the Reds' Phillips was hit by a pitch by Pittsburgh left-hander Tony Watson. Cincinnati's Pedro Villareal hit McCutchen in the top of the inning.
No punches were thrown between two teams with a history of altercations dating back a couple of years, but the altercation rekindled twice before order was restored. Pirates first baseman Sean Rodriguez and Cincinnati's Joey Votto were ejected.
Pirates Closer Mark Melancon and manager Clint Hurdle were automatically ejected after Melancon hit Tucker Barnhart with one out in the ninth. Newly acquired Joakim Soria got the final two outs for his first National League save.
Morton (7-4), 0-3 with a 5.04 ERA over his last five starts, improved to 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in his last six in Cincinnati. The right-hander had a season-high seven strikeouts and didn't allow a runner past second base.
Reds' right-hander Keyvius Sampson, making his second career appearance and first start, allowed three runs and three hits with one walk and six strikeouts in five innings. Sampson (0-1) became the fifth Cincinnati pitcher — all rookies — to make his first career start this season.
Before a crowd of 39,596, Sampson retired the first seven batters he faced before Sean Rodriguez doubled into the left field corner with one out in the third inning. One out later, Gregory Polanco walked, and both runners scored on Starling Marte's double to left-center field, his first hit in his last eight at bats.
Walker extended the lead to 3-0 with a fourth-inning leadoff homer. Initially a triple, it was upgraded to a homer after a review of 1 minute, 25 seconds. Replays showed the ball bounced off a railing above the right-center field fence.
Pirates: All-Star RHP A.J. Burnett is scheduled to have an MRI on his ailing right elbow Monday. Burnett, who plans to retire after the season, said that there was "no chance" he would have season-ending surgery.
Reds: First baseman Joey Votto, who'd played in all but one of Cincinnati's first 102 games this season and started 99, got Sunday off. Votto, who'd started all 16 of the Reds' games since the All-Star break, struck out three times on Saturday for just the second time this season.
Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano (7-6) is Pittsburgh's scheduled starter against Cubs' LHP Jon Lester (6-8) in the opener of a three-game series and six-game home stand. The Pirates are 4-6 against Chicago this season.
Reds: After Monday's day off, Cincinnati opens a run of 13 games in 13 days with the first of a three-game series against Central-leading St. Louis on Tuesday. RHP Anthony DeSclafani (6-7) is the Reds' scheduled starter. He is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two appearances against the Cardinals.