St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas Jul 27, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (39) reacts after being ejected in a game against the Chicago Cubs in the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

The rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals already has enough drama, but less than 10 minutes into Thursday night’s Game 1 of a four-game series at Busch Stadium, things really escalated.

With two outs in the top of the first inning, Chicago Cubs batter Ian Happ hit St. Louis Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras in the backswing. Contreras’ head was bleeding and he exited the game.

One pitch later, Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas threw an up-and-in pitch that just missed hitting Happ. And on the second pitch, Mikolas didn’t miss Happ. If the first pitch didn’t make it obvious enough, the second pitch definitely made it clear that Mikolas was intentionally throwing at Happ.

After the hit-by-pitch, the umpiring crew met on the field and chose to eject Mikolas.

The Bally Sports Midwest Cardinals broadcast — featuring Chip Caray on play-by-play and Brad Thompson on color commentary — certainly hated the decision.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol was also ejected after he came out to defend Mikolas.

St. Louis reliever Dakota Hudson entered the game and essentially served as a new starting pitcher. The Cubs went on to score three runs after the Happ hit-by-pitch in the first inning, and Hudson allowed five earned runs over 4 1/3 innings pitched.

Here’s a peek at how the baseball world reacted to the first-inning drama:

Happ and Contreras were Cubs teammates from 2017-22, before Contreras signed with the Cardinals over the offseason.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

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