Cubs, Nats twice clear benches

CHICAGO – The Cubs aren’t winning much these days but they are starting to show some fire anyway.

The ejection of Cubs manager Dale Sveum on Wednesday was only the appetizer for some fireworks Thursday and at all started with the quietest guy in the Cubs dugout, bench coach Jamie Quirk.

With Steve Clevenger over at the Cubs dugout to swap out a faulty catcher’s glove, Quirk and Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter appeared to have some long-distance words.

The issue could have possibly stemmed from the fact that the red-hot Nationals stole two bases in the fifth inning with a 7-2 lead.

Porter approached the Cubs’ dugout leading both benches and both bullpens to clear. No punches were thrown, though. Quirk was ejected but Porter was not.

With the first pitch of the sixth inning, rookie Lendy Castillo appeared to throw at the Nationals’ Bryce Harper. Benches cleared again with no punches thrown.

But as order was nearly restored, tensions flared up again and the two teams met up on the infield with some aggressive pushing going on at best. The Nationals’ Michael Morse didn’t seem to care for being pushed by Clevenger.

Clevenger broke away from the skirmish, but returned and appeared to reach out toward Ian Desmond before Desmond was pulled away. Desmond and Danny Espinosa stole bases in the fifth inning.

After the sixth-inning skirmish Clevenger and Manny Corpas of the Cubs were ejected. The Nationals’ Michael Gonzalez was also ejected.

After appearing to throw at Harper, Castillo came back to strike out the rookie phenom looking on a breaking ball. Castillo was removed by Sveum after giving up a single to Ryan Zimmerman and was greeted warmly in the dugout as he came off the field.