ATLANTA – Kevin Pillar is confident he escaped serious harm when he was hit in the face by a fastball during the New York Mets' 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
In a frightening scene that shook both teams, Pillar was drilled square in the nose by a 95 mph pitch from Braves reliever Jacob Webb with the bases loaded in the seventh inning — the latest injury for a banged-up Mets team.
Pillar was knocked to the ground, and blood poured from his nose when he lifted his head. After the game, New York manager Luis Rojas said the veteran outfielder was taken to the hospital for a CT scan. Pillar then provided an encouraging update on his Twitter account.
“Thanks to everyone that has reached out! Scary moment but I’m doing fine!” he posted.
Pinch-hitter James McCann broke a scoreless tie with a seventh-inning double, and Tomás Nido had three hits for the Mets.
But the sight of Pillar getting hit was unnerving for players and managers on both sides.
“It was not an easy moment,” Rojas said. “Definitely our prayers are with KP. ... It’s tough. You think about a player’s career. You think about a lot of things in the moment and you get emotional.”
McCann said he saw Pillar walking around in the clubhouse after the inning.
Some Braves players on the field, including Webb, showed their shock and concern as they watched Pillar receive medical attention.
“That’s about as sickening a thing as you can see on the baseball field when a kid gets hit like that,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker. “I keep that kid in my prayers and hope everything is OK.”
Pillar got up and walked off under his own power. He was quickly escorted off the field with towels covering his face. Members of the grounds crew worked to cover up blood left in the batter's box area as the Braves made a pitching change, removing Webb.
New York starter Taijuan Walker allowed one hit in three scoreless innings before leaving with left side tightness. Walker will have a MRI on Tuesday, according to Rojas.
Sean Reid-Foley (1-0) did not allow a hit in three shutout innings.
Edwin Díaz walked Freddie Freeman with one out in the ninth before closing out the game for his sixth save.
The injuries to Walker and Pillar came after the Mets added outfielder Michael Conforto and second baseman Jeff McNeil to a long injured list with hamstring strains before the game. Ace starter Jacob deGrom already is on the IL, recovering from right side tightness.
Austin Riley hit an eighth-inning homer off Trevor May for Atlanta's only run.
Braves left-hander Max Fried (1-2) exited after giving up Nido's double to open the seventh. McCann broke the scoreless tie with his double to left field off Webb. With two outs and the bases loaded, Webb's errant pitch hit Pillar to force in the second run.
The Braves also have new injury concerns. The team said Fried, who had thrown a season-high 95 pitches, was removed as a precaution due to cramping in his left hand. He said he's never had that issue before.
"I’ve been under the weather the last couple of days and have been on antibiotics, so that may have something to do with it,” Fried said.
A healthy Fried is needed to provide stability to the rotation after right-hander Huascar Ynoa broke his right hand when he punched the dugout bench following a poor start Sunday in Milwaukee. Ynoa is expected to miss two months.
Ynoa was frustrated after giving up five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings of the 10-9 loss to the Brewers.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard will make his first minor league rehab appearance Wednesday at Class A St. Lucie as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery. RHP Seth Lugo, recovering from surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, will pitch at St. Lucie on Tuesday. Lugo was transferred to the 60-day IL. ... DeGrom threw from a mound and is expected to throw on the side Tuesday. ... 3B J.D. Davis (left hand sprain) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday.
Braves: OF Ender Inciarte is away from the team on paternity leave and INF Johan Camargo was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. ... RHP Edgar Santana was recalled from Gwinnett. LHP Jesse Biddle, who had an 8.44 ERA in eight games, was designated for assignment.
New York outfielder Johneshwy Fargas had a run-scoring double in the eighth for his first hit in his major league debut. The Mets also recalled outfielder Khalil Lee from Triple-A Syracuse. Lee, also making his major league debut, entered as a pinch-runner for Pillar and remained in the game in right field.
Fried walked Reid-Foley in the fifth. It was the right-hander's first time on base in his career. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman pounced on the opportunity to take advantage of Reid-Foley's innocence.
“I think Freeman lied to me,” Reid-Foley said. "He said I got the base but I don’t think I get the base. That’s OK, though. He did tell me ‘Nice at-bat.’"
Braves LHP Tucker Davidson will make his 2021 debut Tuesday night after being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday. Davidson allowed seven runs, two earned, in only 1 2/3 innings against Boston in his only 2020 game in the majors. He was 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two games with Gwinnett this season. Davidson's start gives other starters, including Charlie Morton, an extra day of rest. The Mets had not announced a starter for Tuesday.
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