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Alcides Escobar leaves game in the fifth after hit-by-pitch

Royals shortstop hit in head by Danny Salazar fastball.

Man down.
Man down.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

In a scary moment in the top of the fifth inning, Cleveland right-hander Danny Salazar uncorked a 96-MPH fastball that rode up and in on similarly right-handed Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar. The fastball hit Escobar in the head--his helmet flying off in the process--and he went to the ground, face down, holding his head, but otherwise not moving. Salazar watched in horror with concern as Escobar lay conscious but still, making clear the unintentional nature of the errant fastball.

Upon seeing the replay, the pitch appeared to have glanced off the ear flap on Escobar's helmet before possibly making contact with his temple. The training and coaching staff came out to tend to their downed shortstop, and after what seemed to be an eternity, Escobar rolled over onto his back and sat up. Shortly thereafter, he and the training staff walked off the field, though he looked dazed.

Per the Royals broadcast team, it appears as though Escobar just has a contusion (read: bruise) on his left cheek. If this is in fact the full extent of the injury to Escobar, then this marks the second time in the past week in which the Royals can consider themselves lucky after one of their players was hit in the face with a pitch that was thankfully deflected before making contact.

After the game, the Kansas City Star's own Andy McCullough tweeted thusly: