Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa are publicly trying to downplay their heated dugout exchange from Friday night.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Pujols was upset that La Russa ordered a two-out steal attempt by Ryan Ludwick with Pujols batting and St. Louis leading by four runs in the eighth inning. Ludwick was thrown out, denying Pujols an RBI chance.
After the play, Pujols tossed his bat and helmet as he returned to the dugout, then flipped a pair of trays holding gum.
The histrionics angered La Russa, who, according to a witness, told Pujols, "That’s enough." From there the exchange escalated, with La Russa finally telling Pujols, "I (expletive) know how to manage."
On Saturday, La Russa told reporters, "Part of (Pujols’) greatness is that he cares. It’s why he ends up doing well and whatever needs fixing he fixes."
The manager said the incident wasn’t unique, but he added that it was a heat-of-the-moment occurrence.
"I didn’t talk to him afterwards because he doesn’t do it excessively and I know he’s sincere," La Russa said.
Pujols also tried to minimize the situation, saying, "I was hitting and we got thrown out stealing. I wanted to hit. That’s all it was. … It’s over. We said what we said. It’s over."
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak called the incident a "non-issue."