Adam LaRoche added to his home run tear with a two-run shot and the Washington Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 9-2 in a fight-filled game Thursday night to finish a lopsided four-game sweep.
The trouble started with a testy exchange between Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk and Nationals third base coach Bo Porter in the fifth inning. The benches and bullpens emptied, but there was no pushing or shoving. Quirk was ejected before play resumed.
In the sixth, Chicago reliever Lendy Castillo threw his first pitch of the inning near Bryce Harper’s legs and the ball sailed all the way to the backstop. Harper made a move toward the mound and was quickly intercepted by catcher Steve Clevenger.
Both teams spilled onto the field again, and this time things got a little nasty.
Players pushed and shoved each other in the infield and Clevenger took an open-handed swipe at Washington shortstop Ian Desmond.
Clevenger, Cubs right-hander Manuel Corpas and Nationals lefty Michael Gonzalez were ejected — though neither pitcher was in the game. Order was finally restored and Washington went on to their fifth straight victory and eighth in nine games.
The Nationals (85-52), who have the best record in the majors, remained 7.5 games ahead of second-place Atlanta in the NL East.
The Cubs (51-86) have lost 17 of their last 18 road games and six in a row overall. They were outscored 31-9 in the series.
Kurt Suzuki hit a three-run homer to help back Jordan Zimmermann (10-8), who struck out nine in seven innings. LaRoche hit his seventh home run in his past six games.
Justin Germano (2-6) allowed seven runs, six earned, in four innings — his shortest start of the season.
Braves 1, Rockies 0
In Atlanta, Tim Hudson pitched seven sharp innings and Atlanta posted their second straight 1-0 victory over Colorado, winning both times with an unearned run.
This was an especially galling loss for the Rockies. Juan Francisco raced home with the lone run when Colorado starter Jhoulys Chacin (2-5) dropped a routine throw back to the mound from his catcher.
That was enough for Hudson (14-5), who stranded eight runners. Craig Kimbrel earned his 34th save.
Marlins 6, Brewers 2
In Miami, Josh Johnson pitched seven solid innings and ended his career-worst four-game losing streak, leading Miami past Milwaukee.
Johnson (8-11) allowed two runs and four hits while striking out seven. He won for the first time since Aug. 3 at Washington.
Greg Dobbs drove in two runs for Miami. The Marlins had 12 hits, three by Donovan Solano.
The Brewers lost for just the fourth time in 17 games. A day earlier, they pulled within 6.5 games of the second NL wild-card spot.
The Marlins scored three runs in the first inning as Solano, Jose Reyes and Dobbs each drove in a run off Marco Estrada (2-6).
AP, BALTIMORE, Maryland
Mark Reynolds hit two of Baltimore’s season-high six home runs — three in a wild eighth inning — and the Orioles climbed back into a first-place tie with New York in the AL East with a 10-6 victory on Thursday night.
Adam Jones’ leadoff homer in the eighth off David Robertson (1-6) put Baltimore ahead 7-6 after the Yankees had rallied from a five-run deficit in the top half. Matt Wieters followed with a single and Reynolds hit a drive into the seats in left. Chris Davis then slammed the first pitch from Derek Lowe over the wall in right.