Tempers flared in the second inning of Friday’s Marlins-Braves opener when Atlanta right-hander Kevin Gausman lobbed a 97.1-m.p.h. fastball behind Miami starter José Ureña. While the ball didn’t make contact with Ureña, the intent behind the pitch was enough to get Gausman ejected by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson.
The brush-off pitch appeared to be an attempted retribution for the hit-by-pitch Ureña delivered to Ronald Acuña Jr. last summer. Acuña was plunked on the elbow during his first at-bat of the game and, crucially, in the middle of his ongoing home run streak as well. It elicited no shortage of strong emotions from players and fans alike, and both Ureña and Braves manager Brian Snitker were ejected in the aftermath.
No one rushed to Ureña’s defense on Friday (though Snitker was again ejected after defending Gausman), but he remained in the game and took first base on a four-pitch walk from Touki Toussaint. On the mound, he tossed six innings of five-run, three-walk, four-strikeout ball, and gave up two home runs to Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann in the first and sixth, respectively.
The Braves currently lead the Marlins 5-2 in the seventh. No official statement has been issued by either Gausman or the Braves regarding the incident.
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.