NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Manager Aaron Boone, Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees again hammered away at the umpires, this time in prolonged rants that brought several members of the team spilling onto the field, while beating the Cleveland Indians 6-5 Saturday.
Gleyber Torres hit two home runs and Didi Gregorius and DJ LeMahieu also went deep for the AL East-leading Yankees.
But what really fired up the crowd of 47,347 at Yankee Stadium occurred in the sixth inning after Cameron Maybin was called out on strikes by Triple-A umpire Ben May. The strike three was clearly outside the zone and registered as a ball on MLB’s own tracking software on their website.
Maybin calmly stood and discussed it with May and went back to the bench, but moments later, things heated up in a hurry.
Boone came rushing from the dugout to confront May, and engaged in an animated argument. When Boone returned to the bench, all seemed calm — for a moment, anyway.
That’s when Boone came back for another go at May, with crew chief Tom Hallion coming in from second base, trying to quell the beef. But at the same time, several Yankees were hollering from the dugout, engaging in a close-up argument with first base ump Phil Cuzzi.
Gardner was ejected after banging his bat against the dugout roof — it’s become his habit when he gets upset — and then he climbed over the railing to continue to the dispute with Cuzzi. Coaches Phil Nevin, Marcus Thames and Josh Paul also were on the field, holding back Gardner, who was also arguing with third base umpire Todd Tichenor.
Sequence of events:
1. Brett Gardner bangs the dugout
2. Brett Gardner gets tossed because the umpires are ridiculous pic.twitter.com/zC9z8Qr2uD
— David Mendelsohn (@BigBabyDavid_) August 17, 2019
After the game, Boone was asked why umpires now seem to be looking for and targeting Gardner’s bat-banging antics. The manager said that the team now planned to speak with the commissioner’s office regarding the matter since the outfielder is not technically “arguing balls and strikes” — which is against baseball’s rules.
Maybin also told reporters after the game that the home plate umpire is responsible for instigating the entire affair Saturday afternoon.
Maybin on HP ump Ben May: "He was egging it on the whole time. I asked him a question. I asked him how can he make that call, he was very sure of himself that that pitch was right there. It wasn’t. After that it should have been over. He continued to stare into the dugout."
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) August 17, 2019
The wild fracas is the third incident in a month — each time with a minor league call-up umpire behind the plate — the team with the best record in American League lost its temper in a big way. This episode led to Boone, Gardner, and pitcher CC Sabathia all being ejected.
Last Friday, Gardner was tossed after a rant in Toronto. And on July 18, Boone screamed and hollered at a rookie umpire, leading to the expletive-filled rant that prompted the manager to call his hitters “savages in the box.”
On the field, Torres’ pair of homers now put him in historic company in Yankees history. The young infielder has a league-leading seven multi-home run games this season. That puts him just one behind Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Alex Rodriguez for the most by a Yankee in one year (8).
Gleyber's 7th multi-homer game of the year leads the Majors.
Gleyber's 29th homer of the season leads the team.
Gleyber is good. pic.twitter.com/F9cFtLti5x
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 17, 2019
James Paxton (9-6) struggled through five innings in another uneven performance for the win. He allowed four runs on six hits and three walks Saturday.
Aroldis Chapman closed for his 35th save in 40 chances.
YES broadcaster Michael Kay returned to the booth for the first time since July 2 after recovering from vocal cord surgery. The announcer who punctuates his home run calls with “See ya!” was shown on the videoboard in the third inning and got a nice cheer as the stadium sound system played the theme song from the TV show “Welcome Back, Kotter.”
OF Aaron Judge was out of the lineup, a day after getting two hits following a 3-for-31 slump. Boone had said he wanted to give his slugger a day off this weekend.
Sabathia (5-6, 4.78) is expected to come off the injured list to start Sunday. The 39-year-old has been out since July 28 with right knee inflammation.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)