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Giancarlo Stanton hit by pitch in face, leaves on a stretcher

The front-running position player in the NL MVP race left on a stretcher in one of the most terrifying -- and strangest -- plate appearances in a long time.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton left the field on a stretcher after being hit in the face by a pitch from Brewers starter Mike Fiers in the fifth inning on Thursday.

He suffered a laceration on the left side of his face, the Marlins announced, and underwent X-rays and a CT scan at a local hospital in Milwaukee.

Stanton took a called strike from Fiers before the second pitch of the at-bat -- an 88 mph fastball -- caught the star slugger in the left side of his face in an area unprotected by his helmet. Stanton was down for about five minutes before an ambulance was called onto the field. Fiers, who had not hit a batter in 10 big league appearances entering Thursday, was visibly shaken after the incident, according to Fox Sports Wisconsin's Andrew Gruman.

A considerable amount of blood was visible on Stanton's face and around the home plate area. Umpires ruled that Stanton swung at the pitch, so Reed Johnson was sent to the plate to finish the at-bat. Johnson was promptly hit in the hand by Fiers, resulting in both benches emptying. Johnson, too, was not awarded first base, but rather given a strike for allegedly swinging at the pitch. The unprecedented plate appearance ended in a strikeout.

Stanton, 24, is in the midst of an MVP-caliber campaign for the 71-74 Marlins. He entered Thursday hitting .287/.395/.554 with 37 home runs.

Fiers after the game took to Twitter to express his concern for Stanton.