The Kansas City Royals ended their 11-game losing streak by winning 6-2 at the Chicago White Sox, but the major talking point of the game came when visiting third baseman Hunter Dozier hit a popup shot and ran to first base as opponent Jose Abreu came to catch the ball.
With reigning American League MVP Abreu looking up at the shot, Dozier kept his head down and ran, meaning the pair couldn’t see one another before their sickening collision.
Both players stayed prone on the ground in agony and had to be helped from the field in a premature end to their contests that left their teams and fans alarmed.
“That was a big collision, and to see [Abreu] go down like that – he doesn’t really ever do that,” said Chicago’s Lucas Giolito afterwards.
“He’s taken some hits and just gets right back up. It was a huge relief, going in, seeing he’s good, in high spirits – for me and the rest of the team. It was extremely scary in the moment.”
Abreu is being monitored day-to-day after suffering a facial contusion and laceration and a bruised left knee in the first part of the rapid double-header.
For his troubles, Dozier has been placed on the seven-day concussion injured list after being left with a quad contusion and neck discomfort.
“That was violent. That was scary,” admitted Royals manager Mike Matheny.
“It looked like [Dozier] was trying to get away and go around the catcher and didn’t even really see that Abreu was closing in. I think both of them wore that one pretty hard.”
Online opinion was split over who was at fault. “That’s 100 percent on Abreu,” insisted one fan. “Not much field awareness there.”
“You mean the guy looking up in the sky at the pop out?” another asked in reply.
“The guy running straight down the baseline? Yes,” snapped back the original poster, before conceding: “That said, obviously it’s an accident and it could easily happen to anyone on a play like that.
“But it’s up to the fielder to avoid running down the baseline.”
A cooler head reasoned: “I don’t get why it’s so hard for it to be neither persons fault. You all clearly didn’t play enough as kids and have accidental collisions.”
White Sox manager Tony La Russa described the incident as “just a bad break for both of them.” “I guarantee you Dozier didn’t see him, or he would’ve tried to avoid him,” he added.
The White Sox hit back with a 3-1 win in the second game, splitting the series at one apiece.
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