MILWAUKEE -- Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said he had turned the page Wednesday after absorbing a purpose pitch the previous night, but not before disputing Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's spirited lecture about the ethics of pitching inside. La Russa argued that the high-and-tight Takashi Saito pitch that struck St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols in the left hand in the seventh inning Tuesday required a "message" to be sent to the Brewers and Braun. So Cardinals reliever Jason Motte fired consecutive fastballs inside on Braun, the second of which struck Braun in the back. "I get it," Braun said. "I certainly understand where [La Russa] is coming from. But at the same time, any good hitter in this league has to be pitched up and in at times. I get it, Prince [Fielder] gets it. You have to throw Albert that way, you have to throw Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman [that way]. You can't allow guys to be comfortable. Occasionally, you have to make that pitch.
"Nobody ever wants to hit anybody. Clearly, we weren't trying to hit Albert [with runners] at first and third, nobody out and Holliday and Berkman coming up next." La Russa said his issue was not that the Brewers pitched Pujols inside, it was that they pitched him inside and high. La Russa counted at least four questionable pitches in the first two games of the series. "They got him real good," La Russa said. "I don't know what it's going to take -- a broken jaw or a fractured hand? Unintentional -- it is unintentional, but it's intentionally thrown up and in, and that's a dangerous thing. Just get the ball down, like we did [against Braun]." Asked about La Russa's argument that when pitchers go up and in, it requires an answer, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said, "I don't buy that." "You have to pitch him in with strikes. And if you pitch a guy in with strikes, balls are going to get away from you at times," said Roenicke, who saw his Angels pitchers do it for years against Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez. On Wednesday morning, La Russa extended the feud to the broadcast booth. "You would hope the guys that work for the Brewers have enough guts and enough integrity to call the game as it is instead of worrying about their paycheck, which I understand isn't true," La Russa told reporters, a swipe at former Brewers catcher and current television analyst Bill Schroeder. La Russa subsequently called Schroeder to clear the air. "A totally amicable conversation," Schroeder said. "There's mutual respect there." The key, the Brewers figured, is that La Russa had directed the conversation into a debate about the ethics of pitching inside, and not about the very real possibility that one of the Cardinals' best relievers, Motte, and starting catcher Yadier Molina face the possibility of suspensions after Tuesday's game -- Motte for throwing at a batter, and Molina for making contact with plate umpire Rob Drake after being ejected in the 10th inning. A deft deflection by the veteran Cardinals manager, one Brewer argued. Both Pujols and Braun were in the lineups for Wednesday's series finale. Braun said he was "fine" because Motte's pitch did not deliver a direct hit. It instead deflected off Braun's left arm and got him on the left side of his back. "Its over and done with," said Braun, who actually enjoys the tension between the teams. "From a competition standpoint, it makes it more enjoyable. They have a good team, we have a good team. We expect them to be in it until the end. It just makes the competition that much more fun.
"You don't want to get hit, but yesterday's over. Whatever. They did what they felt they needed to do, and in my opinion, you move on. You don't want to get in a beanball war. That's not fun and it's not safe."After Wednesday, the Brewers and Cardinals still meet nine times in the 2011 regular season.