SPORTS
09/07/2012 12:36 am ET Updated Sep 07, 2012

Nationals, Cubs Benches Clear: Bryce Harper Stares Down Pitcher After Close Call (VIDEO)

As the Nats' bats stayed hot against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night, the tempers of both ball clubs flared, too. The benches cleared twice at Nationals Park, resulting in four ejections as Washington dispatched the visiting North Siders, 9-2.

With the home team leading, 7-2, in the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter approached the Cubs' dugout and began yelling at Chicago bench coach Jamie Quirk. Both benches emptied. By the time that fire was doused, Quirk had been ejected. Crew chief Jerry Layne later told James Wagner of the Washington Post that Quirk was tossed for yelling obscenities at Porter.

In the bottom of the sixth inning with the same score, Cubs reliever Lendy Castillo nearly hit Bryce Harper with a pitch inside. Harper took exception to the pitch and immediately started slowly walking towards the mound, starting down Castillo. Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger got in Harper's way, but both benches and bullpens cleared.

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This time, a scrum ensued near first base. As both teams met and jawed at each other, Clevenger appeared to shove Nats outfielder Michael Morse, who was then held back by teammates as he attempted to retaliate. According to the Associated Press, Clevenger managed to let loose an "open-handed swipe" at Washington shortstop Ian Desmond.

Clevenger, Cubs reliever Manuel Corpas and Nationals reliever Michael Gonzalez were all ejected after the mess was mopped up. Despite all of the tense moments and all the players jostling in close quarters, no punches seem to have been thrown.

According to Brian McNally of the Washington Examiner, the Cubs were upset that the Nationals were swinging away with a five-run lead.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson commented on the incidents after his team's 9-2 win.

MORE FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger is among four people ejected when benches cleared twice in two innings of the game between Chicago and the Washington Nationals.

Clevenger, Cubs right-hander Manuel Corpas and Nationals lefty Michael Gonzalez — both pitchers not in the game — were ejected in the bottom of the sixth Thursday night after Chicago righty Lendy Castillo brushed back Bryce Harper with his first pitch of the inning. Clevenger stepped in front of Harper and players and coaches streamed onto the field.

At one point Clevenger could be seen taking an open-handed swipe at Washington short stop Ian Desmond, who accidentally knocked down first base umpire Bill Miller while backing away.

Chicago's bench coach Jamie Quirk was tossed after his testy exchange with Nationals third base coach Bo Porter caused a scrum in the fifth. Quirk could be seen shouting from the dugout and Porter approached the Cubs' bench.

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