Cardinals’ Holliday exits game after being hit in head by pitch

Matt Holliday had a painful pinch-hitting experience Friday.

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St. Louis Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday exited Friday’s 8-3 loss after being struck in the back of his helmet by an 86-mph fastball from Cubs starter Dan Haren in his second at-bat since a lengthy stint on the disabled list.

Holliday didn’t seem fazed after being hit and began heading to first base. Cubs catcher Miguel Montero immediately got up to check on Holliday, and a Cardinals trainer rushed from the dugout to check on Holliday, who was replaced by pinch runner Pete Kozma.

Manager Mike Matheny said Holliday sustained a minor bruise and was not experiencing any symptoms of a concussion.

Plate umpire Dan Bellino warned both teams after Holliday was hit, then ejected both Cardinals reliever Matt Belisle and Matheny in the seventh inning after the right-hander hit Anthony Rizzo on his left leg. Rizzo took two steps to the mound and had words for Belisle as Bellino ejected both Belisle and Matheny. Order quickly was restored. 

"I’m really disappointed in what the Cardinals did right there. We did not hit their guy on purpose at all. That was an absolute mistake," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "There was not malicious intent on Dan Haren’s part. So to become this vigilante group that all off a sudden wants to get their own pound of flesh, that’s absolutely insane, ridiculous and wrong. And furthermore, we won’t start stuff, but we will end stuff. That’s’ their call. That was their moment there."

Holliday was activated from the DL on Tuesday after missing 41 games with a right quadriceps injury. Entering Friday’s game, he had made one plate appearance since returning, striking out as a pinch hitter on Thursday in Milwaukee. In 64 games, he is hitting .288 with four home runs and 31 RBI.