PHOENIX - Andrew McCutchen had a large rectangular bandage in the middle of his back, and moisture welling in his expressive eyes.
Still, he thanked the Diamondbacks, in particular Randall Delgado, who had hit him with a ninth-inning pitch, and any Arizona staff member who might have suggested to Delgado that would be a good idea.
"I should be thanking them -- now I'm ready to go," McCutchen said, emotionally, after the Pirates' 8-3 win. "They did what they needed to do. They hit me. It's water under the bridge. So we'll move on. We'll show up tomorrow ready to play and ready to win. Just remember: I don't forget. I'm ready to go now."
McCutchen was not upset to have taken the tat for the tit: Ernesto Frieri's Friday night fastball that turned out to have fractured the left hand of D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. In fact, McCutchen expected to be hit. He expected it all night.
He was incensed that it did not come until the ninth inning, until Delgado's third pitch of his fifth plate appearance.
"They had all game to retaliate. I can deal with being hit by a pitch. That's the game. It happens," McCutchen said. "Retaliation is going to happen in this game, but there is a right way to do it. They had plenty of chances.
"First inning, do it. Perfect time: one out, guy on second base. Get it over with. But they wanted to wait it out, wait until the ninth, second and third."
McCutchen appeared most upset by Delgado's pitch sequence: first pitch fastball, up and in, just not far enough in; second pitch slider, away; third pitch, fastball in the back.
"After a slider away. They're setting me up that inning -- and it was really not appreciated. Are they hoping I check my swing and it hits my hand, and I get hurt, too? If you're going to hit me, hit me. If you're going to miss me with the first pitch, hit me with the second pitch ... try to hit me. But you don't throw a slider on the next pitch, and wait for the third pitch. Because that's how people get hurt.
"It hit me square in the spine. If I get hurt, what happens then?"
"I was trying to work my corners more, you know, trying to mix more," said Delgado, who was ejected immediately. "I think maybe I [didn't] have control tonight."
To McCutchen, that rang like the standard "pitch got away from me" routine.
"Sure it did. I'm sure it got away from him," McCutchen said, in his sarcastic best. "Just like the first pitch had gotten away ... I'm sure both those got away from him."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less