NEW YORK -- Three innings after Mets All-Star David Wright was hit in the helmet by a pitch from Matt Cain and sent to the hospital, his teammate Johan Santana threw a pitch behind the Giants' Pablo Sandoval.
One batter later, Santana hit Bengie Molina.
"I feel like I have to protect my teammates," Santana said. "You can call that whatever you want. We're in it together."
A masterful pitching duel turned ugly after the beaning of New York's third baseman, and Molina homered in the 10th inning to give San Francisco a 5-4 victory Saturday.
Wright was taken to the Hospital for Special Surgery by ambulance after being checked out in the clubhouse by a team doctor. Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said a CT scan was negative and that Wright had a concussion. He was expected to stay in the hospital overnight for observation.
Cain nailed Wright with a 94 mph fastball and watched from a crouched position between home plate and the mound. When he came to bat in the fifth inning, he asked Mets catcher Brian Schneider if Wright was OK.
"It was nice to see him walk off the field. It was definitely a situation where you hoped there's no blood," Cain said. "I'll see if I can get a hold of him tomorrow."
All players agreed that Cain was not trying to hit Wright on an 0-2 pitch with a runner on first. Mets manager Jerry Manuel said that pitching up and in on Wright was "the book on him."
Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur visited Wright in the clubhouse after he walked off the field with minimal help and said Wright made a joke from the Chris Farley movie "Tommy Boy" about where he was hit in the head.
"He was all shook up when I came in," Francoeur said. "He was scared."
Cain and Santana were locked in a scoreless matchup until then. Seemingly rattled, Cain gave up a run before settling down and pitching into the eighth, when the Mets tied it at 4.
"He felt horrible," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Cain. "That's the last thing he wanted to do, but he regained his composure."
Molina, who was hit one batter after Santana threw behind Sandoval in retaliation, led off the 10th with a drive to left off closer Francisco Rodriguez (2-4).
Desperate to stay close to Colorado in the NL wild-card race, Giants closer Brian Wilson (5-5) pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, his longest outing of the season.
Mercilessly booed after plunking Wright, Cain tipped his cap as he left the field with the Giants leading 4-2 in the eighth and runners on first and second. Jeremy Affeldt gave up an RBI single to Fernando Tatis, who replaced Wright as a pinch runner and remained in the game, and Wilson gave up Gary Sheffield's tying sacrifice fly.
The Giants scored three runs on four straight hits off Santana in the sixth, including an RBI double by Molina, when things turned testy in the seventh.
After getting the second out of the inning, Santana threw his next pitch behind the back of Sandoval, earning both benches an immediate warning from plate umpire Brian O'Nara. Two pitches later, Sandoval gave San Francisco a 4-1 lead with a drive off the facing of the second deck in left field.
"I was surprised," Sandoval said of being thrown at. "I calmed down myself. [Molina] said that's part of the game."
Santana then hit Molina in the elbow, and Bochy argued that Santana should be automatically ejected. Manuel removed him for reliever Shawn Green while Bochy argued.
"He didn't think it was intentional," Bochy said of O'Nara's explanation. "That's his call."
The tension started when Cain's 0-2 pitch with none out in the fourth hit Wright just above the brim of the helmet, sending it flying as Wright fell to the ground. A mainstay in a lineup ravaged by injuries, Wright lay motionless face-down for over a minute as a trainer tended to him and the crowd of 39,652 watched in stunned silence.
Trainers eventually helped him onto his back and one leaned in close to Wright, talking to the third baseman. Wright sat up as a trainer shone a light in his eyes, and walked off the field with some assistance to a loud ovation.
"It will be difficult for us. He has played through a number of things -- nagging injuries, fatigue," Manuel said of Wright, who had played in every game but one this season. "He was going out there for us every day."
Cain had thrown just seven balls in the first 35 pitches before hitting Wright, but threw five in the 13 pitches he needed to complete the fourth. The Mets took the lead when Daniel Murphy hit a shallow fly to right and Luis Castillo slid home just before Nate Schierholtz's throw arrived.
Santana was gone after giving up the homer to Sandoval, going 6 2/3 innings and yielding nine hits and four runs. Cain failed to get his career-high 13th win for the fourth straight start. He gave up six hits and three runs in 7 1/3 innings.
Alex Cora (sore hand) was scratched from the Mets lineup about 30 minutes before the game. ... Mets reliever Billy Wagner should join the team in the next few days. He's been recovering from elbow reconstruction surgery last September.