A scary scene played out at PNC Park on Tuesday night as St. Louis Cardinals All-Star and Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina was forced from the game with what was later diagnosed as upper back, shoulder and neck strains after a violent high-speed collision with Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison on a bang-bang play at home plate.
The play happened in the second inning with Harrison running at second base. Jose Tabata lined a one-hop base hit to right field that Carlos Beltran scooped up quickly and fired home. Unfortunately, Beltran’s throw would short-hop on Molina, forcing him to adjust slightly to make a clean play on the ball. Of course Molina handled that part expertly. However, as he turned to regain his strong position protecting the plate, Harrison was right there bearing down and then exploded through him with a clean, but very dangerous hit.
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Here’s a look at the collision, which incredibly resulted in an out as Molina managed to hold on to the ball:
It appears Molina took Harrison’s left shoulder flush in the face, so it’s a real good thing he was still wearing his mask at the time of contact to keep his facial structure intact. It also appears it was enough to save him from a concussion, as team doctors have given no indication that’s a concern at this point. However, there was nothing that could be done to avoid the whiplash effects that resulted in his relatively minor injuries (thankfully). For now, he’ll be listed as day-to-day.
Like I mentioned earlier, the hit is a clean one as there was really nowhere else for Harrison to go. But these are the Cardinals, so you knew it wouldn’t go unanswered, clean or otherwise. Three innings later, Jake Wesbrook plunked Harrison, which drew warnings for both benches. The Pirates were none too pleased themselves with the retaliation or the warnings, but there were no further incidents in the game and Pittsburgh was able to cruise to a 9-0 victory.
Now, it’ll be interesting to see if those warnings carry over to Wednesday’s game. And if not, will the Pirates have an answer of their own, or will we see civilized baseball as the wild-card race in the National League continues to heat up?