Salvador Perez was crying as he left the field, hugged by Eric Hosmer. It was a line drive off the bat of the 23-year-old Royals catcher that struck Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman flush, basically breaking his face.
Chapman spent the night at a Phoenix hospital, where tests showed he suffered fractures above his left eye and nose. So padded protective caps for pitchers, authorized by MLB for the first time this season, would have been no help. One player told Fox Sports that Chapman's pitch was clocked at 99 mph, the line drive at 110 mph.
Blood pooled on the mound, and though Chapman never lost consciousness, neither did Brandon McCarthy. After 11 minutes, Chapman was strapped to a backboard and taken off the field on a cart. But for some good news, Brandon Phillips tweeted that he visited Chapman in the hospital, and the pitcher was "doing better" and smiling. (And then he tweeted about "sexy nurses.")
Managers Bryan Price and Ned Yost met with the umpiring crew, and the decision to cancel the game in the sixth wasn't hard.
"It was really a mutual agreement," crew chief Chris Guccione said. "Players were rattled. The staff was rattled. The umpires were rattled. We figured it was best, along with both teams in agreement that the game should end."
"I didn't want to go on. My players didn't want to go on. [Reds players] didn't want to go on."
In the spring, when games mean nothing, it was easy to call it a night and send everyone home. Perez, who declined to talk to reporters and quickly left the clubhouse, was at least thankful for that.