CHICAGO -- Christian Yelich and Justin Smoak hit long home runs, umpires intervened before a shouting match between the teams got too serious and the Milwaukee Brewers powered past the Chicago Cubs 8-3 on Saturday.
Without fans at Wrigley Field, players from both National League Central rivals could be heard shouting toward each other from their dugouts before the start of the fourth inning.
All-Star catcher Willson Contreras seemed to be barking the loudest from the warning track in front of the Cubs' dugout, and several players from both sides popped out onto the dirt near their benches. Umpires jumped in and calmed things down quickly before players could cross the foul lines.
In an in-game interview during the Brewers' telecast, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said empty ballparks might create a new on-field dynamic.
"I think this is going to be part of this season," Counsell said. "Both dugouts can hear each other and umpires can hear everything. There's talking that goes on in game you never hear with all the fans here. It's just part of the game."
Brewers starter Corbin Burnes said the chirping "was one of those things that kind of built up from the first pitch."
Cubs manager David Ross agreed, without naming any instigators.
"I think if you're in the dugout now in this environment, you're going to expect some of that," Ross said. "That's going to spark some intensity. I don't know how it all kind of started."
Ditto for Kyle Schwarber, who hit a two-run homer deep to right. He said players are aware of COVID-19 protocols that limit physical contact and that breaking them could lead to suspension.
"Today was just one of the cases where both teams were going back and forth," Schwarber said. "It's not a big deal. It's just baseball.
"We're going to have to be careful with the new rules and not be able to go into each other," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.