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Matt Holliday’s wide slide sends Cubs’ Quade into rage

Updated: November 2, 2011 4:00PM

ST. LOUIS — It probably won’t affect their broken season, but the borderline play that turned the game Saturday against the Cubs — after turning their star shortstop upside down — could be one they don’t soon forget.

Whether that shows up today when team leader Ryan Dempster takes the mound in a nationally televised game against the St. Louis Cardinals or sometime down the road, how the Cubs respond to Matt Holliday’s hard slide into Castro could be a telling sign of the fight left in them.

‘‘He slid real hard. It’s not clean,’’ said Castro, who showed the red marks on his shin from Holliday’s leg-whipping slide far wide of second base that broke up a potential inning-ending double play in the fifth inning. ‘‘It’s OK because he didn’t have [metal] cleats. But if he had cleats, he [would have] cut me.’’

The Cubs led 5-3 with one out and the bases loaded before David Freese’s grounder to second started the play. It ended with Castro crumpled behind the base as the tying run scored and Cubs infielders shouting at umpire Derryl Cousins.

Moments later, manager Mike Quade reached Cousins, eventually getting his fourth ejection after an F-bomb barrage that continued until bench coach Pat Listach stepped in.

‘‘Not much to talk about. I disagree with Derryl’s assessment that it was a clean play,’’ said Quade, whose anger rose after he saw how far Holliday’s slide was from the bag. ‘‘I don’t think there was an attempt at the bag, and he got a pretty good piece of Castro as well. That’s a huge play in the game, too. That gets us out of their with a 5-3 lead.

‘‘I applaud somebody for going in hard and trying to break up a double play that’ll end an inning, but my thing is it’s not a legal slide to me. And that’s it.’’

Five more runs scored in the inning as the Cardinals went on to a 13-5 victory.

Quade and veterans such as Aramis Ramirez — who said Castro told him it was a clean play — downplayed the borderline nature of the slide.

But many expected Holliday to get pitched inside later in the game, including some who were on the field. But he wasn’t in two at-bats that followed.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa claimed Holliday was within reach of the base, making it a legal slide, and he called it ‘‘good baseball.’’

Holliday, who left the clubhouse before addressing reporters after the game, later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: ‘‘I was within reach of the bag. The umpire ruled it was a fair play. I was just playing the game the way I was taught. That’s as hard as I can.’’

The next word on the subject ­belongs to the Cubs.

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