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.