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DARWIN’S LESSON LEADS TO BRAWL

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Danny Darwin, a veteran of 21 major league seasons, is from the old school.

On Monday night, he tried to teach Henry Rodriguez a lesson."I have respect for hitters and I think hitters should have respect for pitchers," said Darwin, who touched off a wild brawl in the Houston-Montreal game at Olympic Stadium.

"I'm having a bad game, No. 1, and he shows me up," Darwin said. "Maybe I'm from the old school, but there's no room in baseball for that."

The game, won 8-1 by the Expos, featured seven ejections, including Astros manager Terry Collins - who received a nasty gash above the lip that required four stitches to close, the result of a thrown batting helmet during the melee.

"Danny took offense that the guy hit a home run and stood at the plate," Collins said. "But that's the way things are done today, and it's not right."

Rodriguez hit his 30th home run in the second inning, and Darwin thought he took too much time admiring it.

The next inning, Darwin allowed a two-run double to Moises Alou and a two-run homer to Darrin Fletcher, giving the Expos a 6-1 lead.

Then up came Rodriguez and the stage was set.

Darwin hit Rodriguez and the benches emptied, with the ensuing 10-minute brawl spilling all over the Olympic Stadium infield. It was 20 minutes before umpires sorted out matters and the game resumed.

Collins was struck while trying to pull Astros pitcher Shane Reynolds away from Moises Alou.

"All I saw was Moises Alou and Shane Reynolds standing in front of me," Collins said. "The next thing I know I got hit. Somebody told me it was a helmet. I didn't know. It's unfortunate. We don't need that in baseball."

"That was a real fight," Expos manager Felipe Alou said. "There were some guys out there who weren't out there trying to break things up. If the films show anybody doing something abnormal, they should be punished."

Rodriguez knew something was coming when he went to bat in the third.

"I knew I was going to get hit," said Rodriguez, whose homer made him the fifth Expo to reach the 30-homer mark in a season. "Maybe I made a mistake and watched the ball, but I'm not the first guy to do that. I don't think he should hit someone because they watch it. Barry Bonds does it all the time. Barry Bonds is Barry Bonds and I'm nobody. But I don't know what he was doing hitting people.

"I didn't think about it," Rodriguez said of watching the home run. "I just reacted. I watched that ball, but I've watched maybe five or six all year. It's something you can't stop. He shouldn't be hitting people for hitting home runs."

Darwin, who didn't admit to hitting Rodriguez intentionally, defended his actions, blaming it on young players trying to showboat.

"This game has gotten out of hand," Darwin said. "It's gotten ridiculous. Fifteen years ago, nobody did that. You hit a home run, you run the bases. Nowadays, you've got guys standing their waiting until the ball hits. You don't like that. Now everybody's got their tricks, how they flip the bat. It's getting ridiculous.

"I was trying to come up-and-in, trying to knock the guy down," he said. "But that's a situation where if you hit him you don't mind."

The incident escalated when Expos pitcher Ugueth Urbina got into it with Houston's Derrick May near first base.

Darwin, May, Collins and John Cangelosi of the Astros were ejected. Rodriguez, Moises Alou and Jeff Juden of the Expos were thrown out.

Lost in the brawl was the performance of Expos starter Mark Leiter.

Leiter (6-10) pitched a three-hitter to win his second straight start.

Dodgers 6, Reds 5

Mike Piazza boosted his NL-leading batting average to .343 with a home run and an RBI double as Los Angeles won its third in a row at Riverfront Stadium.

Ramon Martinez improved to 100-69 lifetime by beating Cincinnati for the seventh straight time in the regular season.

The Dodgers hung on for the victory as the Reds' three-run rally in the ninth inning fell short when Kevin Mitchell grounded out with runners on first and third to end it. Todd Worrell got his 30th save.

The Dodgers got three hits on balls that popped out of outfielder's gloves.

Cubs 11, Mets 1

Ryne Sandberg hit his 20th home run and Jaime Navarro beat the Mets for the third time this season as Chicago won at Shea Stadium.

Sandberg hit a two-run shot and Brian McRae had a solo home run. The Cubs got 12 hits and also took advantage of three wild pitches and five walks.

Navarro (11-9) is 4-0 lifetime against New York. Jason Isringhausen (5-13) allowed six runs in five innings.