Baseball is typically considered to be a non-contact sport. But if you watched the Detroit Tigers’ 10-6 victory over the New York Yankees Thursday afternoon, you would have never guessed.
The tension began in the fourth inning when Tiger starter Michael Fulmer drilled Yankee slugger Gary Sanchez with 96 mph fastball. If Fulmer’s pitch was unintentional, he’d have trouble convincing that to the Yankees, as Sanchez scorched Tigers’ pitching with four home runs of the three-game series.
Yankee starter Tommy Kahnle then set his eyes on Tiger slugger Miguel Cabrera an inning and a half later, allegedly hungry for retaliation.
Kahnle threw the ball behind Cabrera, inciting home plate umpire Carlos Torres to eject Kahnle. This sprouted fury from Yankee manager Joe Girardi, who argued that Kahnle should not have been ejected since no warnings were issued at this point of the game. Seconds later, Girardi was also thrown out.
The Yankees sent Aroldis Chapman into the game to replace Khanle. But before Chapman could throw a single pitch, Cabrera found himself in a confrontation with Yankee catcher Austin Romine, the brother of Tigers’ utility man Andrew Romine.
The two exchanged words for but a few seconds before Cabrera, who probably assumed that Austin Romine called for the pitch behind him, forcefully shoved the catcher, following with a medley of punches. Romine was quick to defend himself also throwing punches in Cabrera’s direction. Cabrera and Romine were both ejected.
— MLB (@MLB) August 24, 2017
But it didn’t end there.
One inning later, New York’s Dellin Betances hit Detroit catcher James McCann with a heater square on the helmet. The benches yet cleared again, and Betances was ejected along with New York acting manager Rob Thompson who disputed the call.
Following the brawl, Dellin Betances drills James McCann with a 98 mph heater to the dome. pic.twitter.com/7rXrQknPDV
Still there was more.
The top of the eight rolled around, and Tigers’ reliever Alex Wilson hit Clint Frazier in the thigh. Once again the benches cleared and once again there was a scuffle. At this point, the umpires had no choice but to eject Wilson, regardless of whether or not his pitch was intentional. Still, Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus didn’t like it. He gave the umpires a piece of his mind and was also ejected.
MORE, Todd Frazier gets plunked by Alex Wilson and they are fighting again pic.twitter.com/IoeKdHvzJg
— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) August 24, 2017
The aftermath of Thursday’s contest was three separate bench-clearing brawls and eight ejections, three from Detroit and five from New York. The Tigers finished the game on their second manager, and the Yankees on their third.
Thursday’s tension probably stemmed from a July 31 incident at Yankee stadium, where a few familiar names were involved in back-and-forth hit-by-pitches. Kahnle hit Tiger Mikie Mahtook in the helmet with a 98 mph heater. This was not believed to be intentional, but Ausmus groaned after the game, claiming that Khanle should not throw fastballs inside if he couldn’t command them.
The very next inning, Fulmer hit Jacoby Ellsbury with a wild pitch. Warnings were given to both sides and no further clashes occurred for the rest of the series.