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Game stopped for fan hit by foul ball; appears to avoid serious injury

PITTSBURGH – The Cubs’ 5-2 victory over the Pirates at PNC Park on Monday night was delayed for 23 minutes in the second inning after a foul ball off the bat of Starlin Castro shot back to the screen, where stretched the mesh enough to allow the ball to strike a woman in the head.

The woman, who appeared to be walking to her seat in the first row behind home plate with her head turned away from the play, immediately fell to the ground, where stadium medical staff rushed to her aid.

Castro said he did not see or hear the ball strike the woman.

“But I could tell it hit hard because the ball went straight to first base,” he said. “I saw the catcher and the umpire turn the other way. It was not looking good.”

Medics eventually brought a stretcher to the seating area, and she was strapped down, her head apparently immobilized in a brace, and taken from the stadium. She appeared to be conscious, and another woman accompanying her gave a thumbs-up to the crowd.

The Pirates released a statement confirming she was “conscious and alert” as she was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon did not follow the foul ball all the way to the screen to see anyone get hit.

But he said on-deck batter Chris Coghlan “thought the ball hit the wall; that’s how loud it was. And the umpire said the same thing.

“We had no idea what was going on. We couldn’t see her,” Maddon added. “A couple guys did see it, and they said it was pretty horrid. I’m glad she’s doing well.”