Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s questionable slide from Monday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates did actually lead to a fight, but not on the field. Shortly after Rizzo took out Pirates catcher Elias Diaz with a slide, two members of the Pirates had to be separated in the team’s dugout.
With the Cubs up 3-0 in the eighth inning, Rizzo slid into Diaz’s leg on a play at the plate to try and break up a double play. His slide caused Diaz to throw the ball into right field, which allowed two more runs to score for the Cubs. The play drew anger from the Pirates, who argued Rizzo committed interference. After Pittsburgh lost its challenge, manager Clint Hurdle was ejected from the contest.
OK, but then what happened?
After the game ended, cameras picked up an altercation between Pirates third baseman David Freese and third base coach Joey Cora. Outfielder Gregory Polanco stepped in to separate the two. Following the contest, the Pirates held a team meeting, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Athletic.
Why did they fight?
As you might expect, the Pirates are staying mum on the exact reason words were exchanged in the dugout. We can assume it had to do with Rizzo’s slide. This is all speculation, of course, but it’s possible one of the men was upset with how the team handled the situation.
Freese would not give a specific reason for the spat, but said he and Cora are “good to go” after talking it over.
#Pirates Freese refused to explain his spat with Cora: "All I’ll say is me and Joe have been great since he got here. We had a little hiccup, we ironed it out and we’re good to go."
— Rob Biertempfel (@RobBiertempfel) May 29, 2018
How did the Pirates handle the situation?
Rizzo actually came to the plate in the ninth inning, and the Pirates pitched to him like it was a normal at-bat. There were already two men on base, so hitting Rizzo would have loaded the bases.
Rizzo came through with a two-run single, pushing the Cubs’ lead to 7-0, which probably fed into Pittsburgh’s frustrations.
What happens next?
The Cubs and Pirates will play again Tuesday. Given the kerfuffle in the Pirates’ dugout following Monday’s blowout loss, Rizzo might want to wear extra protection to the plate during his first at-bat.
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