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White Sox, Cubs Slug It Out

May 21, 2006|From the Associated Press

CHICAGO — Michael Barrett was waiting for the ball when A.J. Pierzynski ran him over. Barrett's reaction? He got up and punched the White Sox catcher in the jaw, setting off a melee between Chicago's two baseball teams.

"I don't know how to say it. I mean, when you hit another grown man, it's never right, you know," the Cubs' Barrett said Saturday after the White Sox won, 7-0, behind two homers and six runs batted in from Tadahito Iguchi.

Barrett said Pierzynski had every right to run into him but added that the White Sox catcher -- who always seems to be in the middle of wild plays -- got up and nudged him after the collision, instead of heading toward his dugout.

Pierzynski, who slapped the plate emphatically, said he was trying to pick up his helmet that had been knocked off when the two catchers collided.

"I got sucker-punched," Pierzynski said.

"He grabbed me and said, 'I didn't have the ball' and then he punched me.... I was trying to pick up my helmet. I tried to take a step around him and he grabbed me. I thought he was going to say 'Hey, are you OK?' And I was going to say the same thing. The words came out, I got hit and the next thing I know, all hell broke loose."

It's a play that probably will be talked about for years in a city with strong and divided passions for its two baseball teams, whose playing fields are only eight miles apart.

And it will almost certainly result in fines and suspensions.

"I expect to be disciplined, that's part of the price," said Barrett, adding that he wished he had only pushed Pierzynski instead.

Pierzynski and Barrett were ejected, as were the White Sox's Brian Anderson and the Cubs' John Mabry who got into another fight moments later. Mabry was taken to a hospital to have sore ribs X-rayed. The White Sox's Scott Podsednik, who was in the on-deck circle, wrestled Barrett to the ground but was not ejected.

"I was right there," said Podsednik, who declined to comment further. The umpires also declined to comment after the game. Pierzynski, who tried to contact Barrett after the game, said he wasn't sure why he was ejected, other than to restore peace.

Anderson was near the plate after hitting the bases-loaded sacrifice fly that scored Pierzynski.

"I really can't explain my actions. I was getting caught up trying to stick up for my teammate," Anderson said.

Minutes after play resumed following a nearly 15-minute delay, Iguchi hit a grand slam and then later had a two-run shot to back strong pitching by Freddy Garcia (7-1).

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