The drama began in the eighth inning when Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson nicked a foul ball into the facemask of Braves catcher Gerald Laird.
Stunned by the blow, Laird stumbled but managed to stay in the game. Two pitches later, Dickerson swung and accidentally caught Laird in the side of the head with his follow-through. The catcher crumpled to the ground and eventually left the game under his own power.
The foul ball and follow-through contact amounted to bad luck on Laird's part, but the fluky incidents were too close together for the trailing Braves to stomach.
Wasting no time, Atlanta pitcher David Carpenter beaned Dickerson on the hip with his next pitch and was ejected.
Next to head for the clubhouse was Rockies manager Walt Weiss, who pushed an umpire's hands away while raging over Carpenter's retaliation ball. The drama was far from over, however.
Rockies reliever Nick Masset returned fire in the top of the ninth, hitting Braves catcher Evan Gattis high on the left arm. The plunking earned Masset and Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells quick ejections and applause from the crowd at Coors Field. The Rockies went on to seal a 10-3 victory over the Braves.
And that, sports fans, is how incidental contact turned a trouncing into an ejection-happy sideshow.
According to The Associated Press (via USA Today), Dickerson remained adamant that his follow-through contact with Laird was a complete accident.
"It was on a two-strike slider on a backswing that I hit Laird, but it was an accident and I think they know that," Dickerson said. "I guess Carpenter thought it was on purpose."
Carpenter denied throwing at Dickerson.
"I tried to run a fastball in on him, it cut a little bit and caught him," Carpenter said. "Dickerson was looking at me and I thought, 'You just got hit, go to first base, that's all there is to it.' ... I was surprised getting tossed out of the game."
Yup—no way that fastball to the center of the hip might've been construed as anything but a God's honest attempt at tagging the inside. It certainly wasn't an irrational response to a run of bad luck at the end of a blowout.
The good news is Laird is fine. The Braves staff ran the catcher through the usual concussion protocols and approved him to fly with the rest of the team.
Atlanta looks to bounce back at home Friday night against the streaky Los Angeles Angels, who have won six of their last eight.
Keep an eye on home plate. If anyone breathes on Gattis the wrong way, the Angels are in for some sore hips.
On the Twitters.
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