Benches clear in Cards-Reds game, La Russa and Baker get the boot

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Things just got pretty heated between the Cardinals and Reds in the bottom of the first inning.

Brandon Phillips (who else?) exchanged words with Yadier Molina behind the plate as he was set to lead off the bottom of the first inning, clearing the benches. They were quickly separated from each other, but things didn’t really go bananas until Scott Rolen went after his former teammate Chris Carpenter. Really.

There was plenty of pushing and pulling going on and Tuesday’s starter Johnny Cueto unleashed a flurry of kicks with his back against the screen, as you’ll see in this image, provided by MLB’s Twitter feed.

Oddly, only Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Reds manager Dusty Baker were tossed from the game, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

And if Reds fans didn’t hate Molina enough already, he slugged a solo home run in the top of the second inning to give the Cardinals an early 2-0 lead. Bad blood and pennant race baseball, folks. We’ve arrived. 

Nelson Cruz hits 400th career home run

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Twins DH Nelson Cruz hit his 400th career home run, a solo home run in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against the Royals. The blast padded the Twins’ lead to 8-6, and was also No. 40 on the season for Cruz.

Cruz, 39, is the 57th member of the 400-homer club. He was previously tied with Andres Galarraga and Al Kaline at 399. Cruz has hit 163 of his homers with the Mariners, 157 with the Rangers, and 40 each with the Orioles and Twins.

Cruz entered Sunday batting .300/.383/.624 with 104 RBI in 500 plate appearances. Pretty good production for the Twins from a slugger on a one-year, $14.3 million contract. The Twins hold a $12 million club option for 2020 as well.