Intensity rises as Cubs beat Cardinals

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 18, 2015 11:25 PM

(The Sports Xchange) - Second baseman Starlin Castro hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning and added a three-run homer in the sixth as the Chicago Cubs routed the St. Louis Cardinals in an intense game that almost boiled over on Friday.

Cubs right-hander Dan Haren gave up three runs in 4-1/3 innings, while St Louis starter Lance Lynn allowed three runs and six walks in 3-1/3 innings of the game that included players from both sides being hit by pitches.

Both teams were warned after Cubs starter Dan Haren hit pinch hitter Matt Holliday in the helmet with a pitch in the fifth inning that Haren said was an accident.

Reliever Matt Belisle then hit Cubs Anthony Rizzo with a pitch in the seventh inning, prompting the first baseman to walk toward the mound. Rizzo had also been hit earlier in the fourth inning by Tyler Lyons.

Belisle and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny were ejected and Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he was "really disappointed" with the Cardinals.

"We did not hit their guy on purpose at all," Maddon said. "That was an absolute mistake. There's no malicious intent whatsoever on Dan Haren's part. None.

"So, to become this vigilante group that all of a sudden wants to get their own pound of flesh, that's absolutely insane and ridiculous and wrong.

"Furthermore, we don't start stuff, but we will stop stuff. We will end stuff."

Belisle said he was trying to pitch inside when he hit Rizzo.

"It's part of my game," he said. "It's part of me being successful up here."

Haren also said he was trying to pitch Holliday inside when he hit him, but the pitch got away.

Haren said the Cardinals bench responded by yelling at him. A former Cardinal, Haren said he apologized to Rizzo if he later got hit for retaliation.

"I feel bad. I hope he's OK," Haren said about Holliday.

Cardinals pitchers walked a season-high 11 batters including the six by Lynn, who expressed displeasure with home-plate umpire Dan Bellino as he exited.

"We disagreed," Lynn said.

"The low call wasn't my way. The high call wasn't my way. The low call was his way. The high call was his way, so it was tough."

(Compiled by Greg Stutchbury)