Cubs' Wilson Contreras Sparks Bench-Clearing Incident After Home Run

June 25, 2019 - 10:05 am

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- As Cubs catcher Willson Contreras walked toward his locker inside the home clubhouse at Wrigley Field late Monday, a television screen above showcased his emotional moment from the game that had just ended.

After homering in the second inning to produce the first run in the Cubs' eventual 8-3 win over the Braves, Contreras exchanged words with Atlanta catcher Tyler Flowers in an incident that led to both benches clearing. No punches were thrown as cooler heads would prevail. It all stemmed from a discussion between Contreras, Flowers and home-plate umpire John Tumpane earlier during the at-bat over the pitch framing of Flowers.

"I basically told him to do his job, I'll do mine," said Contreras, who went 2-for-4 with the homer and three RBIs. "I don't know why he got pissed off. That's all I said. You do your job, I'll do mine.

"He's great behind the plate. But to be honest, those pitches weren't even close to the strike zone. He got mad because I was talking to the umpire about that. He jumped into the conversation. I just told him to do his job.

"I don't think this is the first time it's happened against the Braves."

As the benches cleared, Braves right-hander Julio Teheran -- who was hit hard in allowing seven earned runs over four innings -- had to be restrained by third baseman Josh Donaldson as he yelled toward Contreras, who remained in the Cubs' dugout after teammate Jason Heyward escorted him there.

The Cubs and Braves previously had a benches-clearing incident during their game in Atlanta on April 1 after David Bote slid into second near Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, though no punches were thrown. Contreras then hit a home run against the Braves during the game at SunTrust Park two days later on April 3, a 452-foot shot that included a two-handed bat flip in front of Flowers.

The 27-year-old Contreras, who now has 16 homers and a slash line of .294/.388/.561 in 2019, is known for his eccentric play on the field. Cubs left-hander Jon Lester, Contreras' teammate since 2016, has come to appreciate the emotion with which the catcher plays.

"He plays with that chip on his shoulder," Lester said. "He's not going to let anybody tell him he can't do something. Sometimes, things like tonight happen. It is what it is.

"Willy just continues to grow day in and day out. I think you'll kind of see him settle in back there where he doesn't have to prove people wrong. He just goes out there and plays. I think that's a big step in a young guy's career, especially a guy who's been doubted.

"When he gets a shot, he's taking advantage of it. I think, eventually, that chip will get a little less and less every year, and he'll just settle in to being that perennial All-Star catcher that we all expect to see."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago's sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.