X's and O's: Pitchers play tic-tac-toe on bump

June 11th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- Joe Musgrove and Chad Kuhl squared off in a duel for the ages Friday night on the Petco Park mound.

They both pitched a baseball game, too.

Once teammates with the Pirates, the two right-handers met Friday night in the series opener between Musgrove's Padres and Kuhl's Rockies. They also went head to head in a between-innings game of tic-tac-toe.

Yes, tic-tac-toe -- the game you’ve probably played hundreds of times, but never in a setting like this one.

Musgrove evidently drew the board prior to the top half of the first inning -- readily visible to TV viewers on the back right of the mound. He then drew an ‘X’ in the bottom left corner. Kuhl responded with an ‘O’ in the center, and it was game on.

“I didn’t tell him about that,” Musgrove said. “I just got out there and figured it would be fun, trying to keep it light. I love Chad. … I know we’re both a little nervous going out there and facing each other, so I was just trying to have some fun and mess around a little bit.”

Said Kuhl: “Kind of cool, just something different. I didn't expect it, went out there -- just one of those things. It's just fun to kind of compete against each other.”

The two right-handers, teammates from 2018-20, made a selection immediately prior to every inning, throwing their warm-up pitches then moseying behind the rubber to draw on the board. (Pitchers, they’re competitive people.)

Ultimately, the game ended deadlocked -- the tic-tac-toe game, that is. In the baseball game, Musgrove outdueled Kuhl with six scoreless innings in a 9-0 Padres victory.