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Addison Russell feels intensity of Cubs-Cardinals rivalry

Jon Lester picked off the Cardinals' Jhonny Peralta in the third inning Sunday. | John Konstantaras/Getty Images

BY TONI GINNETTI

For the Sun-Times

The beanball war subsided Sunday, but that doesn’t mean there was peace between the Cubs and Cardinals.

Hard slides into second by Yadier Molina and by Brandon Moss into shortstop Addison Russell drew boos from Cubs fans, though Russell said neither play was out of line.

“I thought it was a good play all around,” Russell said of Molina’s slide. “I didn’t get hurt. He didn’t get hurt. No hard feelings.”

But later, Molina suffered a sprained thumb tagging out a sliding Anthony Rizzo at the plate. He’ll be evaluated again Monday.

Russell said the series was intense and noticed a measure of animosity between the rivals.

“I think so, but we’re just going to handle business the way we have to,” he said. “I think we just keep our nose down and play some good baseball and make the fans happy, and we’ll do a good thing here whether we come out on top or not. Just play the game of baseball, and I don’t think there will be any problems.”

Day at the beach

Manager Joe Maddon said reliever Pedro Strop deserved to go to the beach Sunday after earning the save Saturday — and he meant it.

Maddon and the Cubs brought the beach to Strop, placing a kiddie pool filled with sand, a decorated lounge chair and a bucket of cold drinks at his locker.

“I would have made him a bloody Mary because I’m a bloody Mary kind of guy, but it was definitely more a margarita-type setting,” Maddon said.

Anti-theft

Jon Lester has allowed 44 steals this season after allowing only 41 from 2012 to ’14. His problems holding runners figured to be exploited by the Cardinals, who succeeded once against him Sunday.

But they failed in two other attempts, with catcher David Ross throwing out Moss in the second and Lester picking off Jhonny Peralta in the third. Ross also picked off Stephen Piscotty from first in the fourth.

The Cubs put the steal sign on in the ninth with pinch runner Quintin Berry. But he was thrown out for the first time in 26 major-league attempts.

Don’t let down

After playing the contending Pirates and Cardinals, the Cubs host the last-place Brewers for three games, and there’s the potential for a letdown.

“I would think not,” Maddon said. “Everyone knows what’s at stake, but I have said I do like playing teams that are in the hunt at this time of year.”

The numbers

Rizzo has a six-game hitting streak and has driven in five runs in the last six games.

Tommy La Stella also has hit safely in six consecutive games.

Relievers Tommy Hunter, Neil Ramirez and Hector Rondon followed Lester with three hitless innings.

Follow me on Twitter @toniginnetti.