The Pittsburgh Pirates were cruising with a 5-0 lead against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night, when Josh Harrison was hit in the shoulder by a pitch that would’ve hit him in the head if he didn’t have incredible reflexes. It was a 96-mph fastball from Arizona’s Braden Shipley:

You can tell by Shipley’s reaction that he wasn’t trying to throw at Harrison’s head, but at the same time… he threw at the guy’s head. Understandably, Harrison wasn’t happy about this, intentional or not. Additionally, it forced Harrison to later leave the game with left shoulder discomfort:

And the Pirates as a team were *especially* not happy the next batter, when Shipley threw up and in at lefty-swinging outfielder Austin Meadows. So this is Shipley nearly hitting heads back-to-back, in each batter’s box (couldn’t get video, but here’s a screencap):

Clint Hurdle’s Pittsburgh squad could either let this go and put all their focus on winning back-to-back games for the first time since mid-May, or they could retaliate. Pittsburgh starting pitcher Joe Musgrove — and/or Hurdle — chose the latter option, immediately. The right-hander hit Arizona’s Chris Owings on the first pitch in the bottom of the seventh:

Welp, that started what would go on to be a five-run inning for the Diamondbacks, capped off by a three-run, game-tying homer from the D-Backs’ Jake Lamb:

Then the eighth inning came around, and Arizona scored four more runs, making it nine unanswered runs after the hit-by-pitch to lead off the bottom of the seventh.

Arizona would go on to win the game 9-5, and after the game, Musgrove basically admitted that he was throwing at Ownings on purpose. He added, “It’s baseball. That’s how the game is played.”

“It’s nothing more than just protecting your teammates. They go back and they hit Sean there. It’s baseball. That’s how the game is played.”

Sigh. It’s 2018, and that’s not how the game should be played.

Additionally, while the Pirates should absolutely be angry two of their players were nearly hit in the head (and a valuable player in Harrison left with injury), it seemed pretty clear that Shipley wasn’t intentionally trying to do that.

And you know what’s the best way to get revenge? Winning the damn baseball game.

The hit-by-pitch isn’t why the Pirates lost, but it certainly contributed. The D-Backs were doing nothing on offense for six innings and got a free baserunner to start a rally. The three-run homer from Lamb to tie the game happened with two outs in the seventh. If Owings isn’t given a free base, the inning may be over with the Pirates leading 5-2 before Lamb can even get that at-bat. Maybe things go differently and maybe Arizona just scores the four additional runs in the eighth anyway, but the free baserunner started it all, and definitely didn’t help things.

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.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at