Tempers flare as benches clear

CHICAGO (AP) -- A grand slam, a bunch of runs, some pitches so

tight they could have left marks and a bench-clearing fracas.

Just another day in the old, heated rivalry between the St.

Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.

"I don't really know why it happens," said Jim Edmonds, who

homered twice Wednesday in the Cardinals' 12-4 rout. "The media

was making a big deal out of this rivalry and it was April and May.

Everybody keeps building it up, obviously something's going to

happen, whether it's just exciting baseball or a little bit of

words back and forth."

This time, it was both. Edgar Renteria hit a grand slam, Edmonds

drove in four runs, the Cardinals spoiled Mark Prior's second

outing of the year, and some bad feelings that had been buried

during the offseason resurfaced when Matt Morris buzzed a pitch at

Derrek Lee's head.

Both benches cleared in the fifth inning, but no punches were

thrown and no one was ejected.

"It's an intense rivalry," said Morris, who gave up four runs

and eight hits in five innings, walking four.

The rivalry was supposed to be between pitchers, though.

Not only is Morris (6-5) the Cardinals' top pitcher, but he's

particularly abusive to the Cubs, bringing a 10-3 career record

against them into Wednesday's game. He was facing Prior, though,

who is fresh off the disabled list after missing two months with

Achilles and elbow soreness.

When Prior came off the disabled list last year, he went 10-1

with a 1.52 ERA. It looked like more of the same in his first start

last Friday as he retired his first 13 batters, allowed two hits

and walked none in six scoreless innings against Pittsburgh.

But he wasn't nearly as crisp Wednesday. He lasted 3 2-3 innings

and matched his career high with five walks, though one was

intentional. He gave up five runs and five hits, and also threw a

wild pitch.

"I just didn't get it done," Prior said. "We needed a win and

I could have given this team better results. I just didn't


He worked out of jams in the first and second innings, but

wasn't so lucky in the fourth. He walked So Taguchi after getting

ahead 0-2 in the count, then walked Yadier Molina. After Morris'

sacrifice, Prior loaded the bases with a walk to Womack. He had

been ahead of Womack 0-2, too, and he bent over and placed his

hands on his legs after throwing ball four.

It was about to get worse. Renteria sent Prior's 2-0 pitch

soaring over the wall in left-center for a grand slam and a 5-1

lead. It was Renteria's first career hit off of Prior, and it ended

the right-hander's day.

"He was a little off today and I took advantage of it," said

Renteria, who played despite missing Tuesday's game with the flu.

"I was looking for a mistake. He's a great pitcher, and he's not

going to make a lot of mistakes."

Morris made a couple of mistakes, too, especially that pitch

that almost hit Lee.

The Cubs had sent So Taguchi and Edmonds sprawling earlier, and

nothing is left unretaliated between these two teams. With one out

in the bottom of the fifth, Morris buzzed Lee with two fastballs.

The second rose as it neared the plate, and Lee had to hit the

ground to avoid being beaned.

"My location wasn't good all day," Morris said. "That was a

mistake. I was trying to go hard and in."

But Lee and the Cubs thought differently. Lee pointed at Morris

and the St. Louis dugout when he got back up, and Morris screamed

right back. Plate umpire Ed Rapuano pulled Lee back as the Cubs and

Cardinals slowly started coming out of their dugouts, and Lee

walked away from the plate. He started back toward the mound after

someone said something to him, and both teams rushed forward.

"I don't mind them chasing me, just don't go above my

shoulders. Don't throw at my head," Lee said. "Hit me in my elbow

or ribs, just don't throw at my head. That's where a guy can get


Umpires got between the teams. Words were exchanged for another

few minutes before both teams wandered back to their dugouts.

"I understand there's emotions in this rivalry," Prior said.

"It's one thing to send a message, it's another thing to throw at

a guy's head. I don't want to get too far into this, but I think we

all understand there's a way to do things and a way not to do

things."Game notes
With Albert Pujols out for a third straight game, Edmonds

made his first start at first base since June 6, 2001. ... Todd

Walker's leadoff single in the first was the 1,000th hit of his

career. ... With his disabled list already full and a 2{-week

stretch without a day off, Baker used pitcher Glendon Rusch as a

pinch-hitter in the fifth inning. Rusch, who homered Monday night,

flied out to left.