Escobar takes exception to Lilly pitch
Benches clear during incident, but no punches thrown
ATLANTA -- Whether Ted Lilly was seeking retaliation is unknown. But Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar obviously believed the Cubs left-hander targeted him to pay the price for the fact that Alfonso Soriano was nearly hit in the head more than 24 hours earlier.
After being hit on the left elbow with a pitch in the sixth inning at Turner Field on Thursday night, Escobar pointed toward Lilly and continued to yell at him while being restrained by Cubs catcher Geovany Soto and plate umpire C.B. Bucknor.
Both benches and bullpens rushed the field, but no punches were thrown. Lilly remained in the game and Escobar exited at the beginning of the seventh inning with a bruised elbow that was visibly swollen after the 11-7 loss his team suffered against the Cubs.
"I'm trying to throw inside, that's what I'm trying to do," Lilly said. "That's part of my game. If I'm going to hit him and he's upset, I understand. He's not happy about it. No one likes to get hit."
Soriano was nearly hit in the head with a first-pitch fastball thrown by Francisley Bueno in the ninth inning of the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader.
One inning earlier, Soriano had irritated his teammates, and possibly Bueno, when he drilled a line drive off the left-field wall in the eighth inning and slowly made his way toward first base while admiring the drive. His actions limited him to a single and forced him to issue an apology to his teammates.
"No good," was the only response Escobar, who speaks limited English, would provide. He was seemingly talking about his elbow. But at the same time, his teammates were saying the same thing about Lilly, who has established an interesting history against the Braves.
"There's no doubt it's not going to cool down any time soon," Francoeur said. "Lilly threw at [Edgar] Renteria last year, threw over [Brian McCann's] head last year and then suddenly hit Escobar. You can't do that."
Francoeur went as far as to say Escobar was deservingly hit with a pitch after admiring a homer that he hit against the Marlins in April.
"If you pimp a homer, you deserve to get hit," Francoeur said. "But [Escobar] didn't do anything and he didn't deserve that."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.