Cubs lose, but breathe sigh of relief as Baez OK after collision
MILWAUKEE -- Aside from a nasty-looking bloodshot eye, Cubs second baseman Javier Baez said he was fine.
Same for center fielder Jason Heyward, who may yet sport a bruise or two he didn't know he had.
If that's the extent of it for both players, the Cubs will be happy, even in the wake of a 2-1 loss in 11 innings Friday night to the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. The Brewers scored the winning run on a bases-loaded wild pitch by Mike Montgomery that scored Ryan Braun with one out.
The Cubs dropped to 2-2 with the loss, but they were breathing easier one year to the day they lost Kyle Schwarber for the 2016 regular season after an outfield collision in Arizona.
Friday's fright came in the sixth inning, right after the Brewers tied the score against Cubs starting pitcher Brett Anderson, who pitched creditably over 5⅔ innings. Baez went out and Heyward came in an attempt to reach a single by Hernan Perez in the sixth. Baez's head collided with the body of Heyward, and it looked as if Baez might have suffered whiplash. He gave a thumbs-up and walked off the field accompanied by the Cubs' athletic trainer.
The Cubs said he suffered a contusion above his left eye. Baez said he did not fear a concussion and the Cubs said he was clear.
"To be honest, I was trying to feel my teeth," he said. "After I felt my teeth, I was OK."
Still, manager Joe Maddon said the Cubs were not taking chances with their star fielding whiz.
"It was almost like a boxing-kind of mouse over your eye," Maddon said. "It looked like it was going to start swelling. He said he was fine, but it just didn't look right. I didn't feel good about it. There was a large divot out there. He insisted he was good. But I wasn't convinced. I'm certain he's going to be fine by or for (Saturday), but I wasn't feeling really strongly about it at that moment."
Heyward, normally a right fielder, started in center. He said he was wearing a lot of Baez's eye-black after the collision.
"It happens," he said. "No man's land. Can't really call that (fly ball) for either one of us because it's right in between. I feel bad for him."
Baez added: "I couldn't see what hit me until I watched the video. Really big man coming at me."
Ben Zobrist gave Anderson and the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the second, when he led off with his first home run of the season. Brewers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson was effective over his 6 innings, giving up just 4 hits.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who was 0-for-13 in the three games at St. Louis, flied out to the warning track in the first and was hit by a pitch in the third. He picked up his first hit with two outs in the fifth, beating out a bouncer to deep third base as the ball hit the bag.
The Brewers' game-tying rally in the sixth began innocently enough as Anderson got two quick outs to start the inning. Travis Shaw then singled to right field and went to second on a wild pitch, setting up an RBI single by Jesus Aguilar. Maddon brought Justin Grimm in to pitch, and he gave up the single to Perez that ended Baez's night.
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