ST. LOUIS -- A day after the Cardinals expressed frustration with multiple high-and-inside pitches thrown to Yadier Molina, Cubs manager Rick Renteria offered his side of the story when asked about possible intent and Molina's reaction.
"There was nothing there," Renteria told Chicago reporters Friday. "Both teams should react exactly the way they reacted. That's baseball. You're competing with two division rivals. Was there any intent to try to hit him? Absolutely not. Are the reactions normal? Sure. It's one of your key players.
"You see a pitch that seemingly looks like it's up and in. If you go back to the video, it wasn't as close as you might think. When a pitch is elevated to the mind's eye, it seems like it's very close. I think everybody reacted the way they should when two teams are competing against each other. There's nothing wrong with the way they showed their emotion."
After being brushed back by an eighth-inning pitch from Neil Ramirez on Thursday, Molina turned to Chicago's dugout and began to exchange words with Renteria.
"We told him, 'Hey, why would we want to hit you?'" Renteria said. "There's no purpose -- it would serve nothing at that point. That's all it was."
It all led home-plate umpire Will Little to issue a warning to both dugouts. Molina has not commented on the incident, though Cardinals manager Mike Matheny defended Molina's reaction after his team's 5-3 win on Thursday.
"You get one mistake that sails and flies up by your head, you're not happy about it," Matheny said. "But when you see a number of them happen that way, you start to take it pretty personal, and I don't blame him. We're not trying to pitch anybody up and in like that, and then you start talking about around the head. Nobody else should, either. Guys need to stand up for themselves and we need to stand up for them."
The Cubs and Cardinals next play each other July 25-27 at Wrigley Field.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.