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Tempers flare as benches clear

CHICAGO (AP) -- A grand slam, a bunch of runs, some pitches so
tight they could have left marks and a bench-clearing fracas.

Just another day in the old, heated rivalry between the St.
Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.

"I don't really know why it happens," said Jim Edmonds, who
homered twice Wednesday in the Cardinals' 12-4 rout. "The media
was making a big deal out of this rivalry and it was April and May.
Everybody keeps building it up, obviously something's going to
happen, whether it's just exciting baseball or a little bit of
words back and forth."

This time, it was both. Edgar Renteria hit a grand slam, Edmonds
drove in four runs, the Cardinals spoiled Mark Prior's second
outing of the year, and some bad feelings that had been buried
during the offseason resurfaced when Matt Morris buzzed a pitch at
Derrek Lee's head.

Both benches cleared in the fifth inning, but no punches were
thrown and no one was ejected.

"It's an intense rivalry," said Morris, who gave up four runs
and eight hits in five innings, walking four.

The rivalry was supposed to be between pitchers, though.

Not only is Morris (6-5) the Cardinals' top pitcher, but he's
particularly abusive to the Cubs, bringing a 10-3 career record
against them into Wednesday's game. He was facing Prior, though,
who is fresh off the disabled list after missing two months with
Achilles and elbow soreness.

When Prior came off the disabled list last year, he went 10-1
with a 1.52 ERA. It looked like more of the same in his first start
last Friday as he retired his first 13 batters, allowed two hits
and walked none in six scoreless innings against Pittsburgh.

But he wasn't nearly as crisp Wednesday. He lasted 3 2-3 innings
and matched his career high with five walks, though one was
intentional. He gave up five runs and five hits, and also threw a
wild pitch.

"I just didn't get it done," Prior said. "We needed a win and
I could have given this team better results. I just didn't
execute."

He worked out of jams in the first and second innings, but
wasn't so lucky in the fourth. He walked So Taguchi after getting
ahead 0-2 in the count, then walked Yadier Molina. After Morris'
sacrifice, Prior loaded the bases with a walk to Womack. He had
been ahead of Womack 0-2, too, and he bent over and placed his
hands on his legs after throwing ball four.

It was about to get worse. Renteria sent Prior's 2-0 pitch
soaring over the wall in left-center for a grand slam and a 5-1
lead. It was Renteria's first career hit off of Prior, and it ended
the right-hander's day.

"He was a little off today and I took advantage of it," said
Renteria, who played despite missing Tuesday's game with the flu.
"I was looking for a mistake. He's a great pitcher, and he's not
going to make a lot of mistakes."

Morris made a couple of mistakes, too, especially that pitch
that almost hit Lee.

The Cubs had sent So Taguchi and Edmonds sprawling earlier, and
nothing is left unretaliated between these two teams. With one out
in the bottom of the fifth, Morris buzzed Lee with two fastballs.
The second rose as it neared the plate, and Lee had to hit the
ground to avoid being beaned.

"My location wasn't good all day," Morris said. "That was a
mistake. I was trying to go hard and in."

But Lee and the Cubs thought differently. Lee pointed at Morris
and the St. Louis dugout when he got back up, and Morris screamed
right back. Plate umpire Ed Rapuano pulled Lee back as the Cubs and
Cardinals slowly started coming out of their dugouts, and Lee
walked away from the plate. He started back toward the mound after
someone said something to him, and both teams rushed forward.

"I don't mind them chasing me, just don't go above my
shoulders. Don't throw at my head," Lee said. "Hit me in my elbow
or ribs, just don't throw at my head. That's where a guy can get
hurt."

Umpires got between the teams. Words were exchanged for another
few minutes before both teams wandered back to their dugouts.

"I understand there's emotions in this rivalry," Prior said.
"It's one thing to send a message, it's another thing to throw at
a guy's head. I don't want to get too far into this, but I think we
all understand there's a way to do things and a way not to do
things."

Game notes
With Albert Pujols out for a third straight game, Edmonds
made his first start at first base since June 6, 2001. ... Todd
Walker's leadoff single in the first was the 1,000th hit of his
career. ... With his disabled list already full and a 2{-week
stretch without a day off, Baker used pitcher Glendon Rusch as a
pinch-hitter in the fifth inning. Rusch, who homered Monday night,
flied out to left.