Benches empty in third inning of Game 6

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A wild Jonathan Sanchez plunked Chase Utley in the back, leading a perturbed Utley to flip the ball back to the pitcher and sparking a benches-clearing incident in the third inning of Game 6 of the NLCS.

The ball, which hit Utley just above the numbers, happened to carom and bounce into Utley’s right hand as he started to take his base with none out in the third. He casually flipped the ball back to Sanchez, with no apparent malice, but Sanchez was focused on getting another ball from the umpire and wasn’t quite sure how to take Utley’s toss.

Fortunately, no punches were thrown and no one was ejected from the game as a result of the incident. Sanchez, though, was immediately replaced by manager Bruce Bochy after the loss of composure. Jeremy Affeldt was already warming up anyway, and he was certainly ready to pitch by the time the fracas was over.

The game was tied 2-2 at the time of the incident. The Giants scored twice in the top of the third on a rally started by Sanchez’s single. Sanchez, though, was very wild to start the bottom of the third, leading to the early bullpen activity.

Adam Eaton sustains leg injury after tripping over first base

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Nationals’ outfielder Adam Eaton was carried off the field after stumbling over first base on Friday night. In the ninth inning of the Nationals’ 7-5 loss to the Mets, Eaton appeared to catch his ankle on the bag as he ran out an infield single, suffering a leg injury on the fall. He was unable to put pressure on his left leg after the play and required assistance by two of the Nationals’ athletic trainers as he exited the field.

Eaton is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, but Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker told reporters that it “doesn’t look too good.” It’s the first significant leg injury the outfielder has sustained since 2014, when he went on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. He’ll likely be replaced by Michael Taylor in center field for the next couple of games, though that could be a temporary fix as the Nationals seek a better solution during Eaton’s recovery process.

Madison Bumgarner likely sidelined through the All-Star break

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It’s been just over a week since Giants’ left-hander Madison Bumgarner got a serious scare after a nasty dirt bike accident. He escaped with bruised ribs and a Grade 2 strain of his left shoulder AC joint, but there was some speculation that the injuries would cause a significant, if not permanent, setback in the southpaw’s career. Thankfully, things aren’t looking quite so bleak today. Not only will Bumgarner not require surgery, but he could return as soon as the week following the All-Star break, the Giants said Friday.

Of course, that timeline is wholly dependent on how smoothly the recovery process goes, so nothing is set in stone yet. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic estimates 2-3 months of rest and rehab, including “two months before he can get back on the mound and then another three to four weeks of throwing and rehab starts before he’s big league-ready.” It’s a long and laborious schedule, but still looks much better than any surgical alternative.

Prior to the accident, Bumgarner was working on a solid start to the 2017 season. He maintained a 3.00 ERA, 1.3 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 through 27 innings with the club, though his average 1.75 runs of support per start fed into an 0-3 record.