CINCINNATI (AP) Reds star Joey Votto went ballistic after a called strike and got ejected, with teammates and even an umpire needing to hold him back Wednesday night in Cincinnati's 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Jung Ho Kang hit Pittsburgh's first grand slam of the season, a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning. The Pirates hold the top spot in the NL wild-card race.

Votto was tossed by plate umpire Bill Welke while the Reds were trying to rally in the eighth. The 2010 NL MVP argued a called strike two and slammed down his batting helmet, hollering and gesturing as he went nose-to-nose with Welke.

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The dispute quickly escalated and Reds teammates intervened to restrain Votto, with first base umpire Laz Diaz helping prevent the big hitter from getting back at Welke. Cincinnati manager Bryan Price also was ejected.

J.A. Happ (5-1) struck out a season-high 10. Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 44th save.

Keyvius Sampson (2-4) took the loss.