Mets' Jeff McNeil dives, making the catch on a ball...

Mets' Jeff McNeil dives, making the catch on a ball hit by Cincinnati Reds' Henry Ramos during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati, Wednesday, May 10, 2023. Credit: AP/Aaron Doster

CINCINNATI — Jeff McNeil was heated Wednesday night after fans threw a pair of baseballs at him while he played leftfield during the Mets’ 2-1 win over the Reds.

In the bottom of the eighth inning at Great American Ball Park, the first ball came in his direction, but he didn’t see who threw it, he said, so he tossed it back into the stands in left.

Seconds later, a second ball came flying — just before Adam Ottavino delivered a pitch — and got close, which bothered McNeil. This time, he threw it to the infield.

“You don’t expect that in Cincinnati, do you?” manager Buck Showalter said. “They threw one, he thought it was some kid who dropped it. So he picks it up, throws it back up there and here comes another one that barely missed him.”

For some reason, McNeil’s disposing of the second baseball annoyed Reds fans, who booed him the rest of the game, including when he batted in the top of the ninth and returned to leftfield for the bottom of the ninth.

“I made some friends,” he said. “But that should never happen at a major-league baseball game.”

The Mets alerted ballpark security to the issue and “six or seven” people were ejected, according to Showalter.

“That’s what happens,” McNeil said, “when you throw two baseballs on the field."

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