One exit begat another in the first inning of Thursday’s game between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.
Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras had to exit the game after three batters when Cubs outfielder Ian Happ hit him hard in the head with his backswing on a swing-and-miss. Contreras immediately went down in pain and was bleeding from the right side of his head as Cardinals trainers escorted him out of the game.
Notably, Contreras and Happ shared a quick embrace as he walked off the field. The Cardinals, who replaced him with Andrew Knizner behind the plate, later announced he left the game with a scalp laceration and is day-to-day.
The next two pitches proved to be similarly costly for the Cardinals. Starting pitcher Miles Mikolas went well high and inside on Happ for his next pitch, then hit him in the hip on the one after that. After a meeting between the umpiring crew, home plate Ryan Additon threw Mikolas out of the game, to the displeasure of Mikolas, the Busch Stadium crowd and the Cardinals broadcasting crew.
Cardinals manager Oli Marmol was also ejected in the ensuing argument.
Typically, such situations result in a warning for both teams, but the umpires went straight for an ejection after two pitches that seemed to come with ill intent.
The Cardinals replaced Mikolas with long reliever Dakota Hudson, who proceeded to allow nine hits and five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking two. Happ also scored from first after the hit-by-pitch.