Tigers beat Yankees in brawl-filled encounter
DETROIT — Pitches buzzed heads, tempers flared, fists flew and thumbs were extended. The New York Yankees-Detroit Tigers game on Thursday turned in a giant fiasco.
The Tigers emerged with a tension-packed 10-6 victory that included eight ejections and three benches-clearing incidents at Comerica Park.
“You don’t see games like this very often, for good reason, because of injury concerns,” said Detroit manager Brad Ausmus, who drew one of the ejections. “I hope I never see one again.”
Tigers cleanup hitter and 11-time All-Star Miguel Cabrera and Yankees catcher Austin Romine were tossed after a benches-clearing brawl during the sixth inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi and relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle had just been ejected after Kahnle threw a pitch behind Cabrera in the sixth.
Yankees reliever Dellin Betances and bench coach Rob Thomson were ejected in the bottom of the seventh after Betances drilled Tigers catcher James McCann in the helmet with a 98 mph fastball.
Detroit reliever Alex Wilson was tossed after hitting New York third baseman Todd Frazier with a pitch in the eighth. Ausmus was ejected after that incident.
The scuffle between Cabrera and Romine began after reliever Aroldis Chapman finished his warmup pitches following Kahnle’s ejection. Cabrera approached the plate and exchanged words with Romine. Romine removed his mask and Cabrera shoved him with both hands and then threw punches while Romine wrestled him to the ground.
Ironically, Romine is the brother of Tigers utility player Andrew Romine.
“First of all, when they threw at me, it was OK. I was cool with that,” Cabrera said. “They started to argue with the umpire and I said to Romine to calm down. He said, “I’m not talking to you” and I said ‘Oh, wow.’ ... When I got back to home plate, I tell him, ‘You got any (bleeping) problem with me?’ He said, ‘Why?’ I said because I try to calm (things) down and you try to act tough. And he said something like, ‘You want to fight?’”
Detroit starter Michael Fulmer hit Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez with a pitch the previous inning. Sanchez homered four times during the series, including a fourth-inning solo blast on Thursday.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Fulmer hit Sanchez intentionally. The Tigers said Fulmer, who recently came off the disabled list with elbow irritation, felt a ‘zinger’ when he released the ball.
“If you can’t see that Fulmer clearly hit Sanchez on purpose, there’s something wrong,” Girardi said. “I think it could have really been avoidable.”
Girardi was steamed at the umpires in general afterward. He was especially upset that Betances was tossed by crew chief Dana DeMuth after home plate umpire Carlos Torres didn’t. Girardi also felt Torres expanded his strike zone in the latter innings.
“That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Girardi said of the Betances ejection. “To me, there’s a lot of confusion and that’s not to mention the strike zone late in the game. Just a very poor job on their part, very, very poor.”
The game was essentially decided three batters after Betances hit McCann, who didn’t feel Betances did it intentionally. Jose Iglesias hit a bases-clearing double to break a 6-all tie.
Iglesias had three hits and drove in four runs, while Justin Upton and McCann hit solo homers for Detroit (55-71). Wilson (2-4) pitched an inning-plus of scoreless relief to collect the win. Shane Greene got five outs to record his fourth save.
Sanchez and Aaron Hicks drove in two runs apiece and Brett Gardner had four hits for the Yankees (68-58).
New York scored three runs the inning after the Cabrera-Romine brawl to tie it at 6-6. Gardner and Sanchez had run-scoring singles and Hicks contributed a sacrifice fly, though left fielder Upton robbed him of a homer.
Iglesias answered with his bases-clearing double in the bottom off the inning off left-center off David Robertson. Betances (3-5) was tagged with the loss.
“We did a nice job fighting back, excuse the expression, and holding on for the win,” Ausmus said.
NOTES: Detroit DH Victor Martinez got the day off. Martinez had just three hits in 17 at-bats (.176) during the homestand. ... Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler has 13 home runs this season and all have been solo shots. He’s the first major leaguer to have 13 consecutive solo homers from the start of a season since the first 14 of Shin-Soo Choo’s 21 home runs for Cincinnati in 2013 were solo shots. ... The Yankees play 24 of their remaining 36 games at home. ... Yankees manager Joe Girardi has now been ejected 36 times in his managerial career, including four this season.