Bryce Harper had a feeling he was going to get thrown at leading off the sixth inning, given what had happened an inning prior, when third base coach Bo Porter got into a heated argument with Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk.
Sure enough, the first pitch Cubs righty Lendy Castillo threw in the sixth was aimed at Harper’s kneecaps, causing the rookie outfielder to take a couple steps towards the mound and toss a few choice words in Castillo’s direction.
“I wasn’t going to do anything stupid,” Harper said. “Just trying to say some words. I wasn’t going to charge or nothing like that. It was just a heat of the moment thing, but I wasn’t going to do anything to jeopardize the next week or so or be out five games for doing something dumb.
“I’m just trying to check off everything on my list. I’ve gotten thrown at, gotten hit, stole home, we’re winning, homers ... Everything that’s going on, just checking it off the list. That’s one of them.”
The Nats weren’t pleased with a number of things the Cubs did this afternoon, but throwing at Harper was high on the list of inappropriate actions, in their minds.
“You come into our house and try to mess with our kid brother?” reliever Michael Gonzalez said. “That’s how we look at it. You’re not just going to come in and please as you do with that. ... I think it was the best thing he didn’t hit him, because it wouldn’t have stopped there.”
The Cubs might have been upset that they were getting outplayed so badly in the series, but in the Nationals’ eyes, nothing was inappropriate about trying to add on a few more runs while leading 7-2 in the fifth inning.
“I think I’d be pretty pissed off if I was getting my teeth kicked in all (week), too, but you can’t lay down (when you’re leading),” Harper said.
“That’s in no way a blowout,” Adam LaRoche said. “We’ve already been beat when we’re winning by nine (against Atlanta). So no point in laying down in the fifth inning. You keep grinding. If they don’t like it, oh well.”
After the game, Porter didn’t have much interest in discussing his conversation with Quirk, but he did say the Cubs, like all teams, should know what they’re in for when the show up to the park each day.
“When I was younger, I did Golden Glove boxing,” Porter said, “and my trainer would always tell me before the bell (rung), he said ‘Just in case you didn’t know, when this bell ring that guy over there, he’s gonna hit back.”
Meanwhile, outside of the near-fisticuffs, the Nats put the finishing touches on a dominating four-game sweep of the Cubs with a 9-2 win.
They outscored the Cubbies 31-9, got great starting pitching (including a gem from Jordan Zimmermann tonight) and kept on rolling heading into nine straight division games.
“Great series,” LaRoche said. “Nice to see a bunch of runs getting scored on our end. Again, we’ve been doing it for seems like a while now. Hopefully (we can) keep that going.