CHICAGO -- A day after watching their opponent's starting pitcher drop to the ground after taking a line drive to the head, the Cardinals endured their own scary moment on Friday as Matt Holliday, making a pinch-hit plate appearance, took an 86-mph fastball from Dan Haren off his helmet. But as with Thursday's incident, the outcome was positive.
Between the fifth-inning plunking and the end of an 8-3 loss to the Cubs, the Cards' left fielder passed a series of concussion tests. He will have a follow-up examination on Saturday, but the club expects Holliday to have full clearance for that day's game.
Holliday, in declining a postgame interview request, offered only an "I'm fine" as he walked out the door of the visitors' clubhouse.
Holliday also had little reaction after the ball struck him just above his left ear flap, after he had come to the plate with one on, one out and the Cardinals trailing, 3-2. He walked to first and then to the dugout, removed for pinch-runner Pete Kozma. Holliday, manager Mike Matheny confirmed, would have come out of the game for a pinch-runner regardless of how he reached base.
Holliday, who was just activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, still has mobility limitations due to a quad injury that has twice sidelined him this season. This was just his second plate appearance since returning.
Home-plate umpire Dan Bellino, who had already seen Anthony Rizzo get hit on the arm by a pitch, issued a warning after this one.
"You just hope that they know that it wasn't on purpose," said Haren, who pitched for St. Louis from 2003-04. "I don't know if they do. There was a base open. I think there was one out. But when it comes down to it, the last thing I want to do is let the winning run on base, and I'm trying to get Holliday out."
Haren said he heard a lot of chirping coming from players in the Cardinals' dugout after the plunking. St. Louis reliever Matt Belisle, as well as Matheny, would later be ejected when Rizzo was hit for a second time.
"I don't like seeing anybody get hit in the head. Our guys, their guy, anybody," Matheny said. "We all understand the seriousness of it and I'm glad to see that he, like the guy yesterday, was able to walk away. It's something that is tough to see."