ATLANTA — Kevin Pillar immediately went face down to the dirt. Blood covered his nose — so much of it, in fact, that the grounds crew at Truist Park rushed onto the field to clean it up.
With the bases loaded in the seventh inning of Monday night's game, Atlanta reliever Jacob Webb drilled Pillar in the face with a 95 mph fastball. James McCann, who was on third, went toward the mound to talk to catcher Jeff Mathis to ask if he saw where it hit Pillar. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman stood with his hands behind his head, displaying obvious concern. Webb wore a sad look on his face because he didn't intend to hurt Pillar.
"Devastating," catcher Tomás Nido said. "I was sick to my stomach."
WARNING: Graphic video
“It’s real scary," McCann said. "Everything kind of stops for a second. He gets hit by the pitch and the last thing on my mind is going to touch home plate."
“Man, it’s scary," right-hander Taijuan Walker said. "You never want to see anyone get hit in the face or hit in the head by a ball, especially coming at that velocity. Pillar is a tough guy. It’s just one of those things where you kind of just shake your head and you’re sick to your stomach."
“It was not an easy moment," manager Luis Rojas said. "Our prayers are with KP. Everyone here feels for him and his family at home that probably watched that. It’s tough."
Mets head athletic trainer Brian Chicklo took Pillar to the hospital, where the outfielder received a CT scan and additional testing. Pillar was still undergoing tests when Rojas spoke to reporters after the club's 3-1 victory over Atlanta, so the manager didn't have the results.
However, Pillar tweeted: "Thanks to everyone that has reached out! Scary moment but I'm doing fine!"
And right after it all happened, McCann saw Pillar walking around. He took that as a good sign, even if the play made him cringe.
As someone who has been around the game a long time, Rojas has been on both ends of these scary plays. He's seen his hitters get plunked with high-velocity pitches and his pitchers get hit by hard-hit balls.
"You think about the player’s career, you think about a lot of things in the moment and you get emotional," Rojas said. "The best you can do in the moment is pray and ask God for the understanding and the best on the guys, that they have a prompt recovery and that they can get back in the game if that’s the plan."
Pillar had performed well in Brandon Nimmo's absence. He's hitting only .250, but he's launched a couple important home runs, has notched a few key hits and has played great defense in the outfield.
He then became the latest Met to suffer an injury.
"This guy’s a warrior," Rojas said. "He shows up every day to play hard."
“Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with him," McCann said. "That’s just a scary moment.”
Justin Toscano is the Mets beat writer for NorthJersey.com.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Mets' Kevin Pillar hit in face by Braves reliever's pitch