ST. LOUIS -- With his postgame comments regarding Jason Heyward's fifth-inning slide on Sunday, Reds manager Bryan Price caught many within the Cardinals organization by surprise and may have added another layer of intrigue to the teams' upcoming series in St. Louis this weekend.
Following the Cardinals' 7-5 win, Price, unprompted, expressed some disgust in the way Heyward slid into third baseman Todd Frazier while trying to advance to third on an RBI double. Price called the slide "dirty," adding that "it could have really affected Frazier, and I'm not happy about that and nor are any of our players."
He was then asked if he considered the Cardinals to be a dirty team.
"No, no, no, no, no. Not at all," Price clarified. "That's not the point. The point is, for one play in this series, they did something that was not a good play, probably not intentional, but it came across as a late slide with a high spike, and it's not good baseball. That's not a good thing. It shouldn't happen. It shouldn't happen without a response."
There was not an on-field response on Sunday, which is one reason why the Cardinals were surprised that the Reds even took issue with the play. Heyward did come in hard at Frazier, though that was largely the result of him being surprised that the cutoff throw from the second baseman came to third and didn't go home as Matt Carpenter went in to score.
"I didn't think much of it," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "Honestly, I was surprised to hear [the Reds had issue]. And think about the play itself -- Heyward probably didn't think there was going to be a play. He thought [the throw] was most likely going to go home. Brandon Phillips makes a very heads-up play and throws a strike to third and [Heyward's] coming in hard. He's also a big guy. I don't think there was anything wrong with that slide."
Heyward was thrown out on the play for the second out of the inning. He immediately turned to Frazier to make sure he was OK.
"Managers have to stick up for their guys when they think something has happened. I get that," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It was a late, hard slide, but I also see that he ended up right on top of the base. I don't think he even expected there was going to be a play made at third and it kind of caught him at the last minute off guard. It was a hard, late slide. I understand where the opposing manager is coming from, but I also understand where Jason is coming from. I support [Jason]."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.