DETROIT (CBSNewYork/AP) — Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera and Yankees catcher Austin Romine wrestled on the ground near home plate during the first of three bench-clearing altercations during the Tigers’ testy 10-6 victory over New York on Thursday.
Five players were ejected, along with managers Joe Girardi of the Yankees and Brad Ausmus of Detroit, and New York bench coach Rob Thomson.
New York reliever Tommy Kahnle and Girardi had just been tossed after Kahnle threw a pitch behind Cabrera in the sixth inning. With the game about to resume, Cabrera stepped toward Romine and the two exchanged words. The New York catcher took off his mask, and the two-time AL MVP gave him a two-handed push to the chest.
Cabrera appeared to take a couple of swings at Romine, and the two ended up on the ground as players from both teams spilled onto the field.
Cabrera and Romine were ejected.
An inning later, New York’s Dellin Betances hit Detroit catcher James McCann in the helmet with a pitch, causing benches to empty again. Betances and Thompson were tossed then.
“I threw him out and that was to keep control of the game,” umpire crew chief Dana DeMuth said. “And the reason why it took a minute or so, was because I wanted to get the players apart. Once I got Detroit going to their dugout and New York going to their dugout, then I informed him that he was ran.”
Betances said he didn’t hit McCann on purpose, and McCann seemed to agree afterward.
“I don’t think it was intentional,” McCann said. “At that point in the game, Miggy was thrown at, Sanchez had been hit, and at least in my mind, the retaliation was over. I don’t think that he was trying to hit me on purpose.”
Although Cabrera vs. Romine was the peak of the hostilities, McCann’s beaning was the most frightening.
“You don’t want to see people hit in the head. You don’t want to see fighting on the field,” Cabrera said. “But people have to understand we’re human.”
Tigers reliever Alex Wilson and Ausmus were ejected in the eighth after Wilson hit Todd Frazier around the thigh with a pitch. The benches cleared for a third time, although the Cabrera-Romine fight was as nasty as things got.
“With me hitting a guy in the leg, it’s what I have to do and that’s what I did,” Wilson said. “Fortunately for me I know where my pitches are going, and I hit a guy in the leg today to take care of my teammates and protect them.”
The ill will likely began when Detroit’s Michael Fulmer hit Yankees slugger Gary Sanchez with a pitch in the fifth, an inning after Sanchez had homered for the fourth time in this three-game series. Fulmer looked like he might be hurt after throwing that pitch, and he was checked by the trainer before staying in the game.
“If you can’t see that Fulmer clearly hit Sanchez on purpose, there’s something wrong,” Girardi said.
Fulmer looked like he might be hurt after throwing that pitch, and he was checked by the trainer before staying in the game. He said he had no intention of hitting Sanchez.
“I respect Gary Sanchez, I really do,” said Fulmer, who beat out Sanchez for last year’s American League Rookie of the Year award. “I would never throw at anybody that hit a homer off of me, just because they hit a home run.”
Kahnle was ejected by plate umpire Carlos Torres immediately after his pitch sailed behind Cabrera. Girardi stormed out of the dugout to argue and was tossed as well.
“When they throw at me, it was OK. … I was cool with that,” Cabrera said. “When they started arguing with the umpire, I said to Romine, ‘Calm down.'”
After Cabrera and Romine were ejected for their fight, Romine was so incensed he threw his mask while entering the dugout.
Sanchez replaced Romine behind the plate.
The game was finally about to resume when Cabrera stepped toward Romine, and the New York catcher took off his mask. Cabrera gave him a two-handed push to the chest.
“He said, ‘You have a problem with me?’ And I said, ‘This isn’t about you,'” said Romine, whose brother Andrew plays for the Tigers. “And then he pushed me. It felt like he wanted a confrontation there and I just tried to defend myself the best I could.”
Cabrera appeared to take a couple of swings at Romine, and the two ended up on the ground as players from both teams spilled onto the field. Sanchez later appeared to take a swing at someone at the bottom of the pile.
Justin Upton and McCann homered for Detroit, but that all became secondary on a day when the umpires had their hands full trying to maintain order. Major League Baseball figures to be busy now, sorting out likely suspensions that could especially hurt the playoff-contending Yankees.
Tensions carried over to the Detroit dugout, too, where star pitcher Justin Verlander and teammates Victor Martinez and Nicholas Castellanos got into some sort of dispute.
“I was actually on the field, so I haven’t seen it and haven’t talked to them about it,” Ausmus said. “I’m aware of it, but I couldn’t tell you what it was about.”
Shane Greene got five outs for his fourth save.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)