In a Major League Baseball (MLB) game, a pitcher on the mound is struck in the abdomen by a flying ball from out of nowhere. The player was surprised, and so was the manager.

Seattle Mariners right-hander George Kirby, 25, started the 2023 Major League Baseball home game against the Houston Astros in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Sunday (Sept. 27) and pitched six innings of five-hit ball with one walk and four strikeouts to earn the win.

Kirby put runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the first inning, and an infield grounder and a high fly ball put runners on the corners. But he induced a grounder to No. 5 Jose Abreu at third base to force out the runner at third, and the next batter, Yoenis Diaz, grounded out to shortstop to end the threat.

From there, it was cruise control. Kirby retired the side in order in the second, third, and fourth innings, and in the top of the fifth, he allowed a single to Jeremy Peña, but promptly threw out a stolen base attempt to strand the runner. Meanwhile, Seattle scored two runs in the third and three in the fifth on back-to-back RBI singles by Carl Raleigh and Teoscar Hernandez to give Kirby some run support.

The play in question came in the top of the sixth inning. After giving up a leadoff single to Jose Altuve but retiring the next two batters on a fly ball and a strikeout, Kirby faced Kyle Tucker with two outs. After a three-pitch foul on a one-ball, one-strike count, a ball came out of nowhere as Kirby was preparing to pitch.캡틴토토 The ball hit him in the abdomen, leaving him dumbfounded.

The stadium erupted in boos, and Seattle manager Scott Servais gestured to the umpire to ask what happened. Replays showed that the ball had come from the third base side.

Kirby got an infield single on the next pitch to put runners back in scoring position, but got Abreu to ground out to end the inning.

Seattle’s George Kirby was struck in the abdomen by a ball from the stands (circled in red) during the top of the sixth inning against Houston on Sunday
The full story of the incident was revealed after the game. According to the Seattle Times, a teenage boy caught Tucker’s foul ball and threw it back to the ground. “The boy reportedly thought it was the right thing to do to throw Houston’s foul ball onto the field,” Service said. “I thought, ‘How can this happen,'” said Service, who added that he had “never seen it before, and I certainly don’t remember seeing it at our home,” and that it was “not something I was expecting.”

“I was really surprised, I thought the umpire was going to throw it because I made a gesture for the ball,” said Kirby, who was hit by the ball.

With the 6-2 win, Seattle improved to 85-72 (.541 winning percentage) on the season and moved within half a game of Houston for the third American League wild-card spot. The win keeps the Astros in the hunt for a postseason berth for the second straight year.

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