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The Grand Slam: Benches empty during Nationals win over Phillies

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NATIONALS AND PHILLIES GET CHIPPY IN PHILLY: A little bad blood between division rivals is to be expected throughout the course of a 162-game season. On Friday night, the tensions nearly boiled over during the fifth inning of the Nationals' 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies

With runners on second and third, one out, and Washington trailing 3-1, Denard Span stepped in for a critical at-bat against Cliff Lee. At one point during that at-bat, Span requested but was denied a timeout from home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, which surely fueled his frustration. Adding to it was the fact that Lee followed through with a high and tight fastball that brushed Span off the plate.

After Span gathered himself and stepped back in, he could clearly be seen mouthing the words “c’mon man” to Lee. It appeared to be more of a "what was that?" than a challenge, but it didn't sit well with the veteran left-hander. The at-bat continued from there and concluded with Span delivering an RBI ground out to the right side of the infield. On his way back to Washington's dugout, Lee said something to Span, which lead to a verbal confrontation by the mound.

''He kept looking at me so I just said, 'If you're going to stand there in the box, be ready to hit,''' Lee said. ''I'll take that strike every time, but I threw a ball.''

Both dugouts and bullpens emptied, but the situation did not escalate beyond Lee's bit of friendly advice. It wasn't exactly a much ado about nothing situation, but it was certainly a tame confrontation that doesn't seem likely to see any carryover during their season series.

"I've been quick-pitched before, but I've never been quick-pitched when I'm not looking, and also quick-pitched up and in when I'm not looking," Span said. "So that's what bothered me. I didn't like the fact he quick-pitched me, because he's Cy Young. He can get guys out without doing that. … If one slips, hits me in the head when I'm not looking … it's just over something stupid." 

As for the game, Washington pulled closer on Span's grounder and then tallied three runs in the eighth off Mike Adams to pull ahead. Lee (seven innings, two runs) and Stephen Strasburg (six inning, three runs) both ended up with no decisions. 

ADAM WAINWRIGHT TAKES FIRST LOSS AT WRIGLEY: Wrigley Field has been a home away from home for St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. Entering play on Friday, Wainwright was 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA in 16 appearances (11 starts) over 10 seasons, but that run ended as Wainwright was touched up for six runs in five innings and took the loss in the Cubs' 6-5 victory.

Wainwright also entered play with a 25-inning scoreless streak, but that was quickly snapped in the first inning as Chicago plated a pair on Anthony Rizzo's two-run single. The Cubs added three more in the third, capped by Wellington Castillo's two-run double. Rizzo then punctuated Chicago's offensive output with a solo homer in the fifth.

On another interesting note for Chicago, Castillo is the second Cubs catcher over the past 80 seasons to collect three doubles in a game. The other was Damon Berryhill in 1990.

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(AP)

MARTE PARTAY: The Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for three ninth-inning runs off Toronto Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos to pull out a 6-5 victory. Neil Walker started the inning with a single. From there, all it took was two big swings. The first came from Pedro Alvarez, who tied the game with a two-run homer. The second from outfielder Starling Marte, who punctuated the comeback with a walk-off solo home run, and then added a little style with an exaggerated bat flip.

We're guessing starting pitcher Gerrit Cole didn't mind Marte's showboating as much as Carlos Gomez's a couple weeks ago. It was his game to lose after allowing four runs over five innings earlier in the evening, so Cole was probably in a much better mood by the time Marte crossed home plate.

FISH FRY THE DODGERS: Fresh off their sweep of the Atlanta Braves, the Miami Marlins continued rolling against another NL favorite on Friday, knocking off the Dodgers 6-3 to extend their winning streak at Marlins Park to seven. In fact, the Marlins currently own the best home record in baseball at 13-4. 

Starter Tom Koehler (3-2, 2.41) set the tone, hurling seven shutout innings while allowing only three hits. The 27-year-old right-hander has been a pleasant surprise so far, and that continued here as he struck out four and walked two. Celebrating his 29th birthday, Jarrod Saltalamacchia not only received a good game for Miami, but also connected for his sixth home run as Miami climbed over .500.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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