Four ejected for fighting as Indians top Tigers
Sheffield was one of two players from both teams ejected during a seventh-inning brawl before Jamey Carroll hit a game-winning single with one out in the ninth to give the Cleveland Indians a 6-5 win over the Tigers on Friday night.
Cabrera’s second homer gave Detroit a 4-2 lead in the seventh. One out later, Indians starter Fausto Carmona hit Sheffield in the left elbow with a pitch. Detroit’s designated hitter walked slowly to first base, carrying his bat, glaring at Carmona and exchanging words with the right-hander.
“Just because he’s upset somebody else hit a home run, don’t take it out on me,” Sheffield said. “Anytime you do that, we’re going to have problems, before the game, after the game, whatever you want to do.”
Carmona threw to first on a pickoff attempt. Sheffield motioned, yelled, then charged at him.
“He gestured and I was like, ‘Throw the ball to home plate,’ “Sheffield said. “He called me out. He gestured come on, and I’m coming.”
Both threw punches. Carmona got Sheffield in a headlock and landed more punches as both dugouts and bullpens emptied. No other punches appeared to be thrown—though Indians catcher Victor Martinez and Detroit second baseman Placido Polanco also were ejected.
“I’m always going to protect my pitcher,” said Martinez, who had advice for Sheffield: “Just shut your mouth and keep playing the game. You don’t do anything after getting hit, then you do it at first base? Are you trying to get attention?
“I can’t stand that.”
Sheffield sat calmly at his locker as he spoke, but seemed most irritated at Martinez.
“His act is tired,” Sheffield said of Martinez. “All that macho, throwing your equipment off. All this stuff. Trust me. He doesn’t want any of this. Trust me. If he does, just let me know, man to man and I guarantee he wouldn’t want any more.”
Neither Carmona nor Indians manager Eric Wedge would discuss the incident.
“If I answer one question, there will be more,” Wedge said. “I thought the umpires did a good job. We’ve got a couple more games with them and it is best not to talk at all.”
On April 17, Carmona hit Sheffield with a pitch in a game that included five hit batters.
“Everybody in the league knows Fausto’s ball moves so much,” Martinez said. “Everybody knows Fausto pitches inside. You don’t like that, well … he’s not trying to hit people.”
Sheffield claimed Carmona has hit him three times this year.
“Three strikes and you’re out,” Sheffield said. “And if it’s number four, it gets more violent. Trust me.”
Carroll hit the first pitch over the head of right fielder Magglio Ordonez. Barfield jogged home and Carroll was mobbed by teammates.
“It was better to be under that pile than the other one,” Carroll said. “They got me with some jabs and I said, ‘You guys should’ve used those earlier.’ But they were fun jabs.”
Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo hit two homers, including a three-run shot in the eighth that tied it at 5. He has seven homers in his last 18 games and 13 overall after missing the first two months while recovering from elbow surgery.
It was Cabrera’s 13th career multihomer game and fourth this season.
Perez (4-3) struck out the only batter he faced for the win.
Choo’s two-out homer in the first put Cleveland ahead 1-0.
Cabrera made it 2-1 in the fourth. Curtis Granderson snapped an 0-for-15 streak with a double. Two outs later, Cabrera hit a 1-1 pitch from Carmona 428 feet into the stands in left.
Only Travis Hafner, hit in the foot with a pitch with one out in the second, reached base during that span. It was the 93rd time a Cleveland batter was hit, breaking the AL record set by Toronto in 1996. Shoppach’s plunking got the Indians within six of the major league record of 100 by the Houston Astros in 1997.
Ordonez singled to start the Tigers’ seventh and Cabrera followed with a 424-foot shot to center for a 4-2 lead.
Galarraga remained winless in five starts, allowing four hits and three runs over 7 2-3 innings.
Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon managed the Tigers in place of Jim Leyland, who began serving a three-game suspension. “I know it was probably tough on skip to have to sit and watch this,” McClendon said.