Morgan ejected in Brewers' loss to Cardinals
After striking out to lead off the ninth against the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter, Morgan had some words with the right-hander as he sauntered toward the dugout. The two began exchanging words and Morgan started toward Carpenter before being restrained by teammate Prince Fielder.
Both benches and bullpens emptied but no punches were thrown. Morgan was ejected and Carpenter retired Ryan Braun and Fielder to complete the shutout.
For Morgan, it was just another day at the office.
"There's really nothing to explain," said Morgan, who said Carpenter yelled an expletive at him. "I was walking off the field until he said (that).
"Just hard ball. It was kind of a quick hook, but whatever."
For his part, Carpenter said he didn't say anything and did not know what was happening until he saw Morgan coming at him.
"I didn't know anything was going on until I heard Albert (Pujols)," Carpenter said of his teammate. "I'm not concerned about it really. I'm not going to play his game."
Morgan has been front and center in several confrontations over the last few years, something that has not gone unnoticed by the opposition.
"He's had a good year for them; he's a talented guy," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "But he's close to the edge as far as creating trouble."
Many feel the edge that Morgan brings has been one of the reasons the Brewers have surged to the top of the NL Central. Despite losing two of three in St. Louis, the Brewers lead the Cardinals by 8½ games.
"We're still in first place," Morgan said. "Believe it."
Batting second in the lineup, Morgan has been a catalyst and is batting .313 with four home runs and 33 RBIs.
Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said he was not sure what led to the confrontation with Carpenter.
"I don't know if Carpenter said anything, I don't know," Roenicke said. "But Nyjer said something. There's not much too it."
Rafael Furcal provided the offense for St. Louis with a solo home run. The Cardinals are 6½ games behind Atlanta in the wild card race with the Braves coming to St. Louis on Friday to start a three-game series. St. Louis won five of its last six against Milwaukee to earn a season series split.
Carpenter was 1-2 with a 5.68 ERA in three previous starts this season against Milwaukee. He needed just 2 hours, 5 minutes to record his 14th shutout and first since he blanked the Brewers 3-0 exactly two years before in Milwaukee. He struck out five and walked two, one intentional.
The home run was the third for Furcal in the last seven days against Milwaukee. He went deep twice in Milwaukee last week when the Cardinals swept the Brewers.
Jon Jay went 3 for 4 for his fifth straight multihit game and he has 11 hits in his last 17 at-bats. Pujols was 2 for 4 but grounded into his major league-leading 27th double play.
Milwaukee's Corey Hart went 0 for 4 with a strikeout and hit into a double play as his 18-game hitting streak was snapped.
Lance Berkman doubled to lead off the fourth against Milwaukee's Zach Greinke (14-6) and scored the game's first run on Yadier Molina's sacrifice fly one out later.
Furcal made it 2-0 by leading off the fifth with his seventh home run.
Greinke went seven innings and allowed two runs and eight hits with four strikeouts.
NOTES: The Brewers' Casey McGehee was ejected for arguing a called third strike that ended the fourth inning. McGehee slammed his bat on the ground in the direction of home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. He was replaced in the lineup by Craig Counsell. ... The start was Carpenter's 30th, giving him eight career seasons with 30 or more. ... Milwaukee's Chris Narveson (10-6) will face the Phillies' Cole Hamels (13-7) in the opener of a four-game series at Miller Park on Thursday. St. Louis' Edwin Jackson (11-9) will oppose the Braves' Randall Delgado on Friday. ... A moment of silence was held before the game in honor of former St. Louis Blues Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev, who were killed earlier Wednesday in a plane crash in Russia. ... Pujols' double play was the 152nd for the Cardinals.