The benches cleared briefly and without incident during the fourth inning of Tuesday night's game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs (GameTracker). The drama began after Pirates designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach attempted to score from third base on a fly out off the bat of Yoshi Tsutsugo. Cubs right fielder Seiya Suzuki made an accurate throw to the plate that beat Vogelbach by a fair margin, however, affording catcher Willson Contreras ample time to apply a tag.
It's not clear what, precisely, happened next that caused tempers to flare between Vogelbach and Contreras, a pair of former minor-league teammates. There was some awkwardness throughout the sequence, though, with Contreras seemingly tagging Vogelbach in the face by accident. Vogelbach later flicked Contreras' long-removed face mask down the third-base line as he was getting to his feet. At that point, the two bumped into one another and shared some words at close proximity. Take a look:
As mentioned in the introduction, both benches cleared without anything else notable coming from the brief confrontation.
Vogelbach, it should be noted, was on third base after hitting the first triple of his career. He entered the night in the midst of a fantastic season, as he had batted .252/.339/.476 (136 OPS+) with six home runs in his first 118 trips to the plate.
Contreras, for his part, is having an even better season. Coming into Tuesday's game, he was hitting .283/.397/.509 (159 OPS+) with five home runs in 126 plate appearances. Contreras, a free agent at the end of the season, is expected to be one of the top players available come this summer's trade deadline.
The Cubs and Pirates are essentially playing for third place in the NL Central this series. The Pirates entered the night with a 15-20 record, giving them a half-game lead over the Cubs, who are off to a 14-20 start.