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Tempers flare in Cubs-Reds finale

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CINCINNATI -- Things were a little testy in the first inning Thursday when Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch, and pretty heated in the ninth, resulting in a benches-clearing incident.

The Cubs beat the Reds, 6-4, in 12 innings, but not without some fireworks.

In the Chicago ninth, Rizzo was one of the players yelling from the Cubs' dugout at Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman when the left-hander's pitches buzzed Nate Schierholtz and John Baker.

When Rizzo took the field for the bottom of the inning, someone from the Reds' dugout yelled at the first baseman, and he threw down his hat and glove and headed for the dugout. Both benches and bullpens emptied, and there was some pushing and yelling, but no punches thrown.

"I was just trying to be a good teammate," Rizzo said of his actions in the ninth. "I have the utmost respect for this city and the Reds, but we as a team have to stick up for each other. Tempers flared. It happens. We're 50 men competing at the highest level and tempers are going to flare sometimes. Hopefully it's something that is resolved now."

Did Rizzo hear something from the dugout?

"Things were said, I don't really know what was said, and tempers flared," he said. "I don't think there's any bad blood. It's more about being competitive and standing up for your teammates."

"There were two pitches that ran away from me," Chapman said through interpreter Tomas Vera. "The entire [Cubs] bench started to yell at me and tell me things from there, but I just kept pitching and doing what I had to do. And after that, when we went back to the bench, [Rizzo] started to yell some things and then you saw what happened after that."

The crowd of 31,983 booed Rizzo as he came to the plate in the 10th with one on and one out, and the Reds opted to intentionally walk him. Jumbo Diaz escaped a bases-loaded jam when Justin Ruggiano popped out.

"You have two teams who compete in the same division and are playing five games in four days -- very competitive people," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "It happens. Emotions run high. It's just baseball."

Reds manager Bryan Price agreed.

"It's a lot of testosterone out there on the field," Price said. "That's just how baseball is. We hit Rizzo, certainly unintentional. [Zack] Cozart got hit on the hand; I'm certain that was unintentional. There were some pitches up and in with Chappy in there, and things got a little testy, but it's baseball. We're trying to win every game we can, as are the Cubs. I just think it was an overflow of testosterone and two teams that just wanted to win a ballgame."

"He's one of the best players in the game," Rizzo said of Chapman. "He's not trying to hit anyone."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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