Cubs Manager Dusty Baker complimented Chris Carpenter last week, then cursed at him yesterday.
Baker and Cardinals ace got into a shouting match during Chicago's 7-4 victory at Wrigley Field, adding more friction to one of baseball's most bitter rivalries. In the second inning, Carpenter walked from home plate toward the dugout to confront Baker, and an argument followed. Baker thought it stemmed from a series in St. Louis this month, when a Cardinals hitter told one of the Cubs that a Chicago pitcher stared him down whenever he got a hit -- and he didn't like it.
"Then Carpenter was doing the same thing to Nomar [Garciaparra] after he got that hit and after he punched out [Matt] Murton. So I asked him, 'What are you looking at? Why are you staring at the guy?' " Baker said. "Then when he went to back up home plate and he came over to our dugout and said, 'If you got something to say to me, then, you know, come to the mound.' That's when I got a little [teed] off and that's when I cursed.
"Maybe I shouldn't have cursed. I had just given him the highest compliment last week when I said he's one of the pitchers I respect most in the league, because he doesn't clown, he doesn't showboat. He just pitches."
Carpenter declined to comment, as did Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa, who has had confrontations with Baker in the past.
* REGRET: Looking back a day later, Giants RHP Jason Schmidt realized he shouldn't have pitched Saturday after tweaking his tender right groin during warmups.
Schmidt decided to give it a go anyway, saying it would have been "embarrassing" to walk off the mound moments before game time. Somehow, he lasted five innings and looked more than respectable despite throwing his fastball 10 mph slower than usual at times. Now his status for the rest of the season is uncertain.
-- From News Services