To be clear, Johnson wasn’t apologizing.
Adam LaRoche added to his home run tear with a two-run shot and the Nationals beat the Cubs 9-2 in a fight-filled game Thursday night to finish a lopsided four-game sweep.
“If they get mad at my guys in the fifth inning swinging 3-0 or running, they better get used to it,” Johnson said.
The trouble started with a testy exchange between Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk and Nationals third base coach Bo Porter in the fifth. Quirk shouted from the dugout toward third base and Porter walked over to the railing, jawing and pointing his finger.
The benches and bullpens emptied, but there was no pushing or shoving. Quirk was ejected before play resumed.
“It was the bench coach’s frustration in us handing it to him for a couple days,” Johnson said. “If they want to quit competing and forfeit, then fine. But we’re going to keep competing.”
Chicago reliever Lendy Castillo threw his first pitch in the sixth inning near Bryce Harper‘s legs, and the ball sailed all the way to the backstop.
“Castillo’s a Rule 5 kid who’s thrown a lot of them pitches today,” Chicago manager Dale Sveum said. “There was no intention to hit Bryce Harper or anything because of what happened.”
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, who accidentally knocked down first base umpire Bill Miller while backing away.
“I’m just trying to check off everything on my list this whole year,” Harper said. “I’ve gotten thrown at, gotten hit, stole home.”
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 its fifth straight victory and eighth in nine games.
“All that stuff that happened, that was instigated by Quirk screaming out at Porter,” plate umpire Jerry Layne said. “And the obscenities that he screamed out I just felt was inappropriate, and that’s what caused everything. The reason he was ejected was he was the cause.”
Porter declined to get into specifics. But he did have something to say about the dust-up.
“When I was younger, I did Gold Glove boxing,” he said. “My trainer would always tell me before the bell rang, ‘Just in case you didn’t…