Benches clear during testy Nats-Cards game

Washington Nationals' Ian Desmond (6) is held back from St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa during the seventh inning of a spring training baseball game, Monday, March 21, 2011 in Jupiter, Fla. Desmond was hit on a pitch by Cardinals pitcher Miguel Batista. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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Washington Nationals' Ian Desmond (6) is held back from St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa during the seventh inning of a spring training baseball game, Monday, March 21, 2011 in Jupiter, Fla. Desmond was hit on a pitch by Cardinals pitcher Miguel Batista.

Tony La Russa and Jim Riggleman had to be separated when both benches cleared Monday during a testy spring training game between the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals.

The scuffle broke out after three batters were hit by pitches, but no punches were thrown and St. Louis reliever Miguel Batista was the only player ejected. The Nationals went on to a 7-2 victory.

With his team trailing 4-2 in the seventh inning, Batista plunked Ian Desmond in the back. While making his way to first, Desmond jawed with Cardinals catcher Tony Cruz, who was walking behind him. Upon reaching first base, Desmond turned to the mound and yelled at Batista.

Players from both teams poured onto the field, gathering around first base in front of the St. Louis dugout. La Russa, the Cardinals' 66-year-old manager, and Riggleman, his counterpart, had to be separated during the fray.