Kris Bryant appears to avoid concussion in Cubs’ bruising 9-7 win vs. Rockies
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DENVER — After one of the most eventful, bruising, painful, emotionally charged games the Cubs have played in years, the most important question afterward involved the player who missed almost all of it.
Cubs star Kris Bryant was ‘‘as good as can be expected’’ more than 3½ hours after he was hit in the helmet by a 96 mph pitch in the first inning and needed help to walk off the field Sunday against the Rockies.
Bryant, whose helmet spun as the ball hit the front of it, suffered a cut above his left eye but showed no early signs of a concussion, the Cubs said. He wasn’t formally in Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol and traveled with the Cubs after the game to Cleveland for their next series. But he also was to remain under evaluation, and his playing status for Tuesday — after the Cubs’ day off Monday — was to be determined.
‘‘I have not heard the word ‘concussion’ yet, so hopefully [his condition is] very good,’’ manager Joe Maddon said after the Cubs’ 9-7 victory. ‘‘I have not heard anything awful, but they’re still watching him.’’
The two-out scare set off the first emotional charge in a game that featured three more players bruised or battered by balls or walls and that ended on a play at the plate — after a replay review — when Rockies star Nolan Arenado was thrown out trying to score on a wild pitch.
‘‘There’s West Texas baseball and then there’s Rocky Mountain High baseball, and you’ve just got to fasten your seat belt and hopefully kick the last field goal,’’ Maddon said.
Hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant hitting coach Andy Haines were so fired up after Bryant was hit that plate umpire Cory Blaser ejected them from the dugout, much to Maddon’s dismay and anger.
‘‘My argument was, ‘Stay out of my dugout,’ ’’ he said. ‘‘It’s an emotional moment. Don’t look for stuff. Nothing would have happened.’’
Much more happened once the game resumed.
That included an hours-long battle by Jason Heyward with the sun in right field, resulting in a third-inning ‘‘triple’’ in which he couldn’t follow a routine fly and fell backward as the ball landed and two runs scored.
Another tough-to-see fly wound up as a double off the wall in the fourth, and he raised his hands in triumph and laughed when he finally caught a pop-up in the fifth after another dramatic effort.
‘‘You can’t get a tougher day than he had,’’ Maddon said.
Except for when reliever Carl Edwards Jr. was hit in the foot by a line drive in the seventh and when first baseman Anthony Rizzo was hit on the arm by a pitch in the eighth and cursed before taking a slow walk to first.
And except for two diving catches and a crash into the wall for a third by center fielder Albert Almora Jr. that saved at least two runs and left him shaken up. He waved off help from the dugout after rising from the wall crash.
‘‘If we would have lost, I probably would have been a little bit more hurt,’’ Almora said.
Almora and Edwards called the game a dogfight.
‘‘Yeah, bumps and bruises,’’ Edwards said. ‘‘I think their dog was bigger than our dog because we’re the ones that got hit pretty hard.’’
The game also featured a verbal altercation between Cubs shortstop Javy Baez and the Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu after Baez blocked LeMahieu from seeing the catcher’s signs in the third and a fan with a Frisbee running on the field before being tackled by security in the sixth.
‘‘He could have at least threw the Frisbee at somebody,’’ Edwards said. ‘‘Just a weird day. One of those days when you get to see almost
everything that baseball has.’’