In a 15-inning game between the Cubs and Padres that was scoreless until the 13th, there were bound to be some oddities that made for weird baseball.
Well, there might be no more odder occurrence you'll see in a baseball game all season, or a lifetime of seasons, than what happened to Cubs player Nate Schierholtz on Sunday afternoon.
The scenario: Bases loaded, no outs, no score in the 13th. Schierholtz facing Brad Boxberger.
After stumbling out of the batter's box — falling to one knee — on a ground ball to the right side, Schierholtz took a few steps toward first base before being conked on the helmet with an errant throw by Padres infielder Jesus Guzman. Instead of starting a 3-2-3 double play, the ball ricocheted away, allowing Darnell McDonald to score and Schierholtz to reach first base on the error. Via the Associated Press:
''I've never seen that one before,'' Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
Schierholtz said he got out of the box in an awkward manner because he tweaked his back on the swing. Then he got plunked by Guzman.
''Just a nightmare of a play,'' said Schierholtz, who also said his back and head are probably fine.
Longtime Padres radio broadcaster Jerry Coleman wondered if Schierholtz was out of the baseline (Tony Gwynn on the TV side talked about the same issue) but he hardly had time to get out of the box, much less up the line enough for it to matter.
Getting hit in the helmet, by itself, is nothing new in baseball unfortunately. Baserunners have been hit on the head while trying to score, too, or while sliding into third base, or even going from first to second on a double-play ball. And it would be one thing if the Padres catcher, trying to throw to first, hit Schierholtz in the helmet or back. That happens.
But a first baseman, 80 feet away, hitting a guy a few steps out of the box? It sounds like something the Cubs would do, not have happen to them. No worries, though. They only got another run out of it, blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the 13th and lost in 15.
''That was the strangest game I've seen in my life,'' Coleman said.
And he's 88 years old.