Benches clear between Cubs, Pirates after Joe Musgrove slides into Javier Báez

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Things have been tense during this series in Pittsburgh between the Cubs and Pirates. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo took a lot of heat after he made a controversial slide into catcher Elias Diaz at home plate. The umpires ruled that Rizzo’s slide was clean, but the next day, Major League Baseball said that the slide was not, in fact, legal.

Tuesday’s game was uneventful, even though there were some hit batters. Nick Kingham hit Willson Contreras, Jon Lester hit Kingham, and Michael Feliz hit Contreras. There didn’t seem to be any malice behind any of those hit batters.

The two sides got feisty on Wednesday. In the bottom of the third inning, starter Joe Musgrove stood on first base after hitting a leadoff single. Josh Harrison then hit a grounder to third baseman Kris Bryant, who fired to Javier Báez at second base. Musgrove slid into second base and his momentum took him into Báez, who held onto the ball. Given Harrison’s speed, Báez almost certainly wouldn’t have been able to make the throw in time to complete the double play, but the slide made it impossible.

As Musgrove walked off the field, Báez had a few words for him. Musgrove turned back and then the benches and bullpens emptied onto the field. No punches were thrown and order was quickly restored. Musgrove’s slide was deemed legal.

Wednesday marks the end of the series between the two clubs, but they meet again for a three-game set in Chicago June 8-10. It will be interesting to see if the bad blood carries over a week and a half.