A pivotal four-game series between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals in the blistering St. Louis heat got off to an eventful start Thursday night.
After Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas made quick work of Mike Tauchman and Nico Hoerner, Ian Happ stepped to the plate and the temperature on the field would grow even higher.
On a 2-0 pitch, Happ followed through on a swing and struck Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras in the head, drawing blood on the former Cub.
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Though Contreras did not appear to be unstable, the Cardinals' training staff was unable to get the bleeding to subside, forcing him to leave the game.
The 2-1 pitch from Happ was notably up and inside, and the 3-1 offering he saw from Mikolas left no mistake on intent.
After Happ took his base, a brief conference by the umpires led to the ejection of Mikolas, determining the hit by pitch to Happ to be retaliatory.
Mikolas and Cardinals' skipper Oliver Marmol were both ejected in the aftermath, and that let the Cubs get to work.
Cody Bellinger followed Ian Happ with a single, with following walks to Seiya Suzuki and Dansby Swanson forcing in the first Cubs run.
Then, Christopher Morel gave the Cubs some cushion.
The Cubs will look to move back to .500 for the first time since mid-May with a win tonight.