Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton was taken to hospital after being smashed in the face by a pitch from Milwaukee Brewers starter Mike Fiers which set off an ill-tempered night at Miller Park.
With the score 4-0 to the Brewers at the top of the fifth inning, the game exploded into an angry mess after two incidents involving Fiers caused the Marlins dugout to react aggressively.
The first occurred when Fiers’s fastball connected with Stanton and the batter had to be taken off the field by ambulance.
The Marlins confirmed Stanton would fly back to Miami on Friday and would be evaluated by their medical team once the swelling had receded.
No timeline was given for his comeback from the injury but with under three weeks left of the regular season and the Marlins 5 ½ games off a Wild Card spot, it seems unlikely Stanton will take any further part in the MLB this year.
At the time of the initial incident both benches were shocked at the sight of Stanton’s horrific injuries. It was seen as an accident and Fiers immediately apologised to the stricken Stanton and his teammates.
The pitcher looked distressed at the incident and need calming by the Brewers bench before continuing.
After several minutes of treatment by medical staff, Stanton was taken to hospital by ambulance and the game resumed, but that was when tempers flared.
Reed Johnson stood in for Stanton’s 0-2 and was clipped on the hand by another Fiers fastball. The collision was minimal and only gave Johnson a sting on the top of his hand but the pitch was taken badly by the Marlins dugout who angrily confronted Fiers.
The reaction of the Marlins provoked the Brewers bench to defend their pitcher and a mini-brawl ensued between both benches on the infield.
The umpires called for calm and gave the benefit of the doubt to Fiers. The Marlins, already incensed by what they believed was an injustice, were given insult to injury as Johnson was judged to have struck out despite hardly swinging at the pitch.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond and third baseman Casey McGehee reacted aggressively to the decision and were both ejected to the clubhouse.
After the game when the emotions had died down pitcher Fiers took to Twitter to apologise to Stanton and the Marlins.
Fiers apology on Twitter
He tweeted: “I am deeply sorry about what happened tonight. I can’t imagine what you and your family are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. I feel horrible and hope for a speedy recovery.”
They say these things happen in threes and the Marlins bad day continued in the sixth inning.
Both benches were issued with warnings after the fifth inning brawl and when Marlins reliever Anthony DeSclafani hit Carlos Gomez on the left elbow with a pitch, he was immediately ejected from the game.
As a result, Rob Leary was also ejected automatically along with DeScalfani as he was acting manager in place of Redmond at the time of the incident.
The Marlins were not able to recover and fell to a 4-2 defeat and felt aggrieved at the decisions made by the umpires.
Marlins not happy
“I've never seen a guy get hit in the mouth and called for a swing. He’s out there bleeding at home plate and for the first-base umpire to say he swung at that pitch … he’s coughing up blood. What a joke.”
Despite Miami’s appeals, the umpires stood by their decisions. Speaking to MLB.com crew chief Jeff Kellogg said he checked with the on-field umpires on both pitches.