WASHINGTON: A benches-clearing brawl sparked by batters being hit by pitches erupted Wednesday in a Major League Baseball game between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals. Rising tensions over days led to the fracas in the bottom of the eighth inning at St.Louis in the Cardinals’ 10-5 triumph over the Mets, who were involved in their second melee since the season began three weeks ago. New York pitcher Yoan López threw a pitch high and inside the strike zone to St. Louis slugger Nolan Arenado. The Cardinals batter shouted back to Lopez on the pitcher’s mound and players from both benches raced to the infield to exchange blows. Pitchers even raced in from workout areas beyond the outfield wall to become involved in the melee. Arenado and Cardinals first-base coach Stubby Clapp were ejected for their actions. The Mets, whose MLB-leading record fell to 14-6, have had an MLB-high 19 batters struck by pitches from opponents this season. Setting the stage for the eruption Wednesday was New York slugger J.D. Davis being hit in the left foot by a throw in the top of the eighth. Davis left the game after being struck. That marked the sixth time in the series at St. Louis that a Mets batter had been struck by a ball thrown by a Cardinals pitcher. Mets slugger Pete Alonso was struck by a pitch on Tuesday in a New York victory and forced to undergo concussion protocols after the game. He was found well enough to play on Wednesday. The tensions came to a head only hours after Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt said MLB was putting players at risk after seeing three teammates hit by pitches on Tuesday. The Mets won 3-0 but Bassitt and Mets manager Buck Showalter weren’t celebrating after Alonso was struck in the head by a pitch for the second time this season. Cardinals starter Jordan Hicks had already hit Dominic Smith in the second inning before Kodi Whitley hit Alonso in the helmet in the eighth. Aaron Brooks hit Starling Marte in the ninth with the bases loaded. Bassitt, who himself dinged two Cardinals batters with pitches, said the problem is with “different” baseballs in use this season.