Update: The early word is that Beltre has only a bruise on the back of his head. No concussion. He said after the game that he didn’t believe Padilla was throwing at him.
Vicente Padilla is known to be a head-hunter, but this one truly appeared to be an accident.
With two outs in the eighth inning tonight, Padilla drilled Adrian Beltre in the back of the helmet with a 92-mph fastball, sending Beltre to the ground in a heap. Beltre got up after a minute and wanted to stay in the game, but the Rangers made the smart decision to send in a pinch-runner.
Padilla was working in a tie game and had an 0-2 count on Beltre when the fastball appeared to get away from him. Had it been anyone else, there would have been no doubt it was an accident. Padilla doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt based on his history, but it still seems unlikely any malice was intended.
The postseason has a knack for finding unlikely heroes. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-23 in the postseason entering Wednesday’s Game 2 of the World Series. The Nats and Astros each plated two runs in the first inning, then went otherwise scoreless through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, with Justin Verlander returning to the mound, Suzuki demolished a high, 1-0 fastball just below the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park, breaking the 2-2 tie.
Verlander proceeded to walk Victor Robles, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to take his veteran starter out of the game. Ryan Pressly came in to attempt to keep it a one-run game.
The underdog Nationals held on to defeat the Astros 5-4 in Game 1. Another victory by the Nats in Game 2 would put the Astros — heavy favorites according to oddsmakers — in a big hole.
Update: Pressly walked the first batter he faced, Trea Turner. Adam Eaton successfully sacrifice bunted both runners over. After Anthony Rendon flied out to shallow center field, Hinch decided to issue his team’s first intentional walk of the entire year to Juan Soto, loading the bases. Howie Kendrick then hit what appeared to be an inning-ending ground out, but Alex Bregman booted the ball as he moved to his left. Turner scored to make it 4-2. The floodgates opened when Asdrúbal Cabrera lined a single to center field, bringing home two more runs to pad the lead to 6-2. While pitching to Ryan Zimmerman, Pressly uncorked a wild pitch to allow the two base runners to advance. Zimmerman followed up with a slow roller down the third base line which Bregman barehanded and proceeded to throw away. Two more runs scored. 8-2. Yiiiikes, Astros.