Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas was hit square in the mouth by Oneil Cruz’s helmet as Cruz unsuccessfully tried to steal second base at the top of the ninth inning.
Rojas was hit so hard that part of his tooth – visible on TV replays – flew out of his mouth into the dirt and he left the field, clutching his mouth.
“He actually knocked a tooth not out but broke half of it off,” manager Don Mattingly said after the game, according to MLB.com. “They found it and he’s at the dentist now, so we’ll see where that goes.”
Rojas’ broken tooth was not the only injury suffered by the Marlins as center fielder Billy Hamilton sustained a black eye and second baseman Jon Berti departed with a mild groin strain.
Despite the plethora of injuries, the Marlins eventually defeated the Pirates following a two-run walk-off triple from Brian Anderson in the 11th inning to split a four-game series with Pittsburgh and keep their hopes alive in the National League Wild Card race.
Anderson’s hit found a gap in right center field, scoring Jesús Aguilar and Avisaíl García – who sprinted from first base to home – and provoking delirious celebrations from the crowd.
At first, the umpire ruled that Anderson had been hit by a pitch from Wil Crowe, but a review overturned the decision, determining that the ball had hit Anderson’s bat and giving him a reprieve.
“At any point, you don’t shut it down,” Anderson said, according to ESPN.
“When I got hit by the pitch, I was ready to go on base. I just tried to focus on what’s in front of me. I was just thankful to have an opportunity to come up there and try to put barrel on the ball.”
It was the Marlins’ second consecutive walk-off victory in extra innings against the Pirates, and they have an opportunity to build on this momentum with a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies beginning on Friday.
“Hanging in there, and that’s what we talk about,” manager Mattingly said, according to MLB.com.
“Just keep fighting up until the [All-Star] break.”