For the second time in as many series this season, both benches were warned Saturday after each side hit a batter.
Some Pirates thought Cubs starter Jake Arrieta's fourth-inning pitch, which hit Jung Ho Kang, was intentional, though the Cubs vehemently denied it. Both sides agreed that Jeff Locke's fastball, which nicked catcher Miguel Montero, wasn't intentional. It was at that point both benches were warned.
"Anytime somebody like Arrieta hits somebody, you've got to assume automatically that one didn't just get away," Locke told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after the Cubs' 8-2 win. "When he misses like that, maybe you raise an eyebrow or something. Jung Ho is as talented as anybody. You want to make good pitches to him, too, so maybe you get away from going in. ... I don't know what happened on the pitch. It got him pretty plush, though."
Montero, who was catching Arrieta on Satuday, had issues with that assertion.
"That's really stupid," he said when informed of what Locke said. "Seriously? That's stupid to say. He didn't want to hit him. I guarantee you that he doesn't want to hit him. He was a little wild in that inning. He was hit a few times and was a little wild."
Arrieta's only rough inning came in the fourth, when the Pirates scored both their runs on three hits. Kang was hit by a pitch one pitch after Arrieta threw a wild one that allowed a runner to move to third base. The idea that the Cubs would allow another base runner on purpose when already down 2-0 didn't register with the home team.
"Obviously, Jake was going through some command issues," Maddon said. "He hit Kang and that was unfortunate. I don't think the guy hit Miggy at all. He threw a lot of balls to that side of the plate."
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle wasn't sure what was purposeful and what wasn't.
"I'm not good on judging intent," Hurdle said. "You can judge intent."
Locke hit Montero two innings later and was subsequently pulled from the game. That's when the warnings came from home plate umpire Brian Knight.
"I don't think he was trying to hit me either," Montero said. "I'm 100 percent sure on that."
The incidents Saturday, and the rhetoric after the game, added to the bad blood brewing between the teams. Last year's wild-card game between the Cubs and Pirates featured several hit batsmen, including Arrieta. It was then that the benches cleared, and Sean Rodriguez of the Pirates was eventually kicked out of the game.
Ten days ago in Pittsburgh, the two teams also were warned in a game with Arrieta on the mound after Pirates pitcher Kyle Lobstein hit Ben Zobrist with a pitch. Maddon yelled out at Lobstein after which Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli also joined the fray. The Cubs have won each one of those games and every other one as well since last October. They're 5-0 against the Pirates so far this season outscoring them 37-11 in the process.
"After that amount of games that it surprising, but every game is a different story," Arrieta said of that run differential. "We've fared well against them so far. We know the quality over there. That hasn't changed."
As for pitchers hitting batters Maddon isn't interested in starting a season long brawl over it.
"The only people that are going to read into that is someone that wants to," he said. "Why would we want to hit anyone based on what happened last year? There are no dots to connect there."