Miami Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas had to leave a game on Thursday after a collision with Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Oneil Cruz. The reason why became very clear on replay.
The collision occurred in the top of the ninth inning with the game tied with one out and Cruz on first base after drawing a walk. Cruz attempted to steal second base, but was caught on a perfect throw from Marlins catcher Nick Fortes.
As the 6-foot-7 Cruz popped up, his helmet made direct contact with Rojas' mouth. Replay showed the helmet had knocked out part of the infielder's tooth, leading him to instantly exit the game while clutching his mouth.
Miguel Rojas lost a piece of his tooth when Oneil Cruz popped up on this slide pic.twitter.com/qQNlMDZ5FM
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) July 14, 2022
Further replay confirmed the situation to be gnarly. Cruz's height, downright unprecedented among MLB shortstops, probably played a role in the unusual play.
Miggy Ro gets popped by Oniel Cruz's helmet and has to leave the game. pic.twitter.com/8ZOW0fGXNe
— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) July 14, 2022
Rojas was replaced in the lineup by first baseman Garrett Cooper as part of a shuffle of the entire Marlins infield. The Marlins held the Pirates scoreless for the inning, and their own scoreless inning in the bottom of the ninth sent the game to extra innings, where they won 3-2 on a Brian Anderson RBI triple.
Facial injuries were something of a theme for the Marlins during the game, as center fielder Billy Hamilton was left bloody after a hard slide into home plate to score a run in the fifth inning.
What initially looked a great Pirates relay to keep the game tied was overturned and the Marlins take the lead
Billy Hamilton was left with a little blood under his eye. He stayed in the game pic.twitter.com/zH7eTbZgfd
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 14, 2022
Rojas left before reporters could speak with him after the game, while Hamilton remained, according to MLB.com's Christina De Nicola.