The Pittsburgh Pirates aren't very good at winning game anymore, but their star player at least knows how to broker peace.
The Pirates lost their fifth game in a row and for the 22nd time in their last 31 games Tuesday night, dropping a 5-3 decision at Cincinnati. Though the Pirates' freefall continues, they at least avoided a possibly ugly situation.
Pirates rookie reliever Jared Hughes hit Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips with a pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning on Monday night, a game the Reds won 4-3 in 14 innings. Phillips flipped the ball back to the mound rather than the batboy, and Hughes took exception to it.
Both teams got into a shouting match from their dugouts, though it did not escalate beyond that. Phillips then suggested on Twitter after the game that Hughes had made a racial remark.
The tweet said: "#RealTalk... Not really surprised by what I heard come outta another player's mouth tonite but DAMN... Still PISSED bout that $h!+!! #Racism"
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen saw the tweet and contacted Phillips on Tuesday morning. McCutchen set up a phone conversation between Phillips and Hughes, two of the more gregarious players in the game.
Phillips and Hughes were able to iron out their difference, though Hughes declined to say exactly what was discussed.
"What I can say is that I've got a ton of respect for Brandon Phillips as a man and as a ballplayer," Hughes said. "I grew up watching him play, and when I was in the minors I always really enjoyed watching him play. Even though he is a Red, I still think he's a tremendous player and a tremendous man. We just told each other how much we respect each other as men."
Phillips tweeted that all was well after the Reds took batting practice: "#RealTalk: Great convo b4 I got to the park & ALL IS GOOD! Hopefully next time he'll throw me a pitch I can hit LOL"