Benches clear in the fifth (things get ugly in the sixth, Nats win 9-2)

Seemingly out of the blue, things got a little heated in the bottom of the fifth inning of tonight’s game.

With the bases loaded and a 3-1 count on Jayson Werth, time was called as Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger walked to the dugout to get a new catcher’s mitt.

As clubhouse staffers went back to grab a new glove, Nationals third base coach Bo Porter suddenly walked over to the top step of the Cubs dugout and started pointing and shouting at someone, believed to be Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk.

The Nationals immediately ran out of their dugout to go protect Porter, and the bullpens emptied, as well, with everyone eventually spilling onto the field.

Order was quickly restored, and after a brief discussion, the umpires decided to eject Quirk. Werth then flied out to end the inning.

There are a few theories as to what caused the whole situation.

The Cubs might have been upset with the Nationals and Porter having Ian Desmond steal second with the Nationals leading by five runs. Quirk and others might also have felt Werth shouldn’t have swung at a 3-0 pitch with the Nats up by five.

Porter also could have been trying to hurry along Clevenger, who was taking his time getting a new mitt with the bases loaded.

Who knows? We’ll find out after this one is done with.

Update: Oh boy. Here we go.

The benches cleared again in the sixth when the first pitch Lendy Castillo threw to Bryce Harper was well inside. Harper took a few steps towards the mound, and players spilled out onto the field.

Things appeared to be dying down after a few seconds, and order looked to have been restored, but Nats reliever Michael Gonzalez then apparently took exception to something said by a Cubs player. He started shouting, and things were on again.

I’m not sure if any punches were thrown, but it got pretty nasty looking there for a while. Ian Desmond, Michael Morse, Sean Burnett and Edwin Jackson were a few of the especially animated Nationals, and all were held back by various players and coaches.

Harper stayed out of the mix for the most part, but Jackson and Morse were still doing some yelling even as things calmed down.

It appears Clevenger was the only ejection after all the madness, and we have baseball again.

One thing to remember from the Nationals’ perspective - they have everything to lose here. An injury or suspension could hurt their playoff hopes greatly. The Cubs can’t say the same.

Update: It turns out there were three ejections during the second benches-clearing incident: Gonzalez, Clevenger and Cubs right-hander Manny Corpas.

Adam LaRoche, meanwhile, hit the Cubs back by depositing a two-run homer over the scoreboard in right later in the sixth.

It’s now 9-2. As if the score will matter once this one is over. I’m guessing there will be a few interesting postgame comments you’ll want to hear.

Update II: It’s a final: Nats win 9-2.

The Nats have swept the Cubs in this four-game set and move to 33 games above .500.

All most people will remember, however, will be all the extra-curricular action.

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