The success of both clubs in 2012 has turned that around, and the tempers have been on display in the first two games of the series.
The Pittsburgh dugout was visibly upset after Reds closer Aroldis Chapman hit Andrew McCutchen with a 101-mph fastball in the ninth inning of the Reds' 3-0 win Friday night. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle fumed and was eventually ejected after home-plate umpire Brian Gorman issued a warning to both benches after Josh Harrison took a ball to the thigh from Mike Leake on Saturday.
Reds manager Dusty Baker thoroughly expressed that neither hit was intentional.
"The one with McCutchen, I can understand them being upset. I really can," Baker said. "Even though I told you it was unintentional, I still can understand them being upset. But the hit yesterday? ... That wasn't even a hit. That was a graze. He almost turned into it, and he got all upset. It was a graze. It was an 86 [mph]."
Whether it was built-up frustration or an attempt at payback, the Pirates took things a step further in the eighth inning of the Reds' 5-4 win Saturday after reliever Jared Hughes surrendered what proved to be the game-winning run.
Catcher Dioner Navarro chopped a grounder toward first base. Hughes had a routine tag out but added a little extra shove on Navarro to end the play, answered by a swarm of boos from the Cincinnati crowd.
"Any time you can get another team on their toes or thinking about something, it's really good," said Todd Frazier, who had driven in the go-ahead run one batter prior. "You saw what happened with Hughes kind of putting a little charge into Navarro there, but that just fires us up again."
"That's a bully move. Navarro is this tall," said Baker, motioning about shoulder high. It's like, OK man."
After a long, thoughtful pause, Baker had just one last sentiment.
"Just keep winning. That's all."