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Brawl mars San Diego's 1-0 win over Zambrano, Cubs

June 17, 2007|From the Associated Press

CHICAGO — Derrek Lee saw the pitch and was sure it was aimed at his head. He got out of the way the best he could. The ball clipped the back of his left hand, and sent him sprawling to the ground.

Walking slowly to first, he had words with San Diego pitcher Chris Young. He got a response he didn't like and took a swing at the right-hander.

Young swung back and a melee ensued Saturday, almost overshadowing a splendid pitching performance. Chicago starter Carlos Zambrano lost his no-hitter in the eighth and the game in the ninth, when Russell Branyan's home run gave the Padres a 1-0 victory.

"I really don't mind getting hit, but when it's at my head, I feel like it threatened my health," the normally mild-mannered Lee said. "I don't know what his intent was, but it was at my head and he said some things to me I didn't like. It just escalated."

Lee, Young, Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry and Padres pitcher Jake Peavy were all ejected.

"I will say this, I didn't throw at him and that's as far as I'll go," said Young, who didn't give up a hit in his three-plus innings before he was tossed. "I didn't try to hit him. It had nothing to do with anything in the past. I was just trying to throw a pitch inside. It got away and hit him."

Both benches emptied, resulting in pushing and shoving in a scrum as Lee and Young were held back. Several players fell to the ground before order was restored.

The Padres were not happy Friday after Alfonso Soriano homered against David Wells, stopped at the plate to admire the ball and then started his home run trot with a few steps backward. Peavy was very critical of Soriano's antics.

"If it happened yesterday they have to hit me, not Derrek Lee," Soriano said Saturday. "I don't know if he [Young] did it on purpose. If he did it on purpose, they hit the wrong guy."

Zambrano (7-6) gave up two hits, but the Cubs managed only two hits, as well, against relievers Justin Hampson, Heath Bell (1-2) and Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.

Marcus Giles hit a chopper that bounded high over the mound and went off Zambrano's glove for an infield single with one out in the eighth, ending the no-hit bid.

Giles had also played peacemaker during the brawl, keeping Young from getting back in the fray after it broke out.

"I'm not blaming either guy. It's heat of the moment," Giles said. "D-Lee just reacted. I'm not saying D-Lee was wrong, and I'm not saying Chris was wrong."

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