Miguel Cabrera throws punch at Yankees catcher as wild brawl erupts

If you needed a fight before Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match, the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees gave it to you Thursday afternoon.

Benches cleared and punches were thrown in the bottom of the sixth inning in Detroit as Tigers star Miguel Cabrera tussled with Yankees catcher Austin Romine. It was the start of a long afternoon of hit-by-pitches, ejections and the benches clearing. Twice more the dugouts emptied in the next two innings, a sign that the Yankees and Tigers had some anger to work out. Eight players and coaches were ejected in the game, which the Tigers would eventually win 10-6.

The big brawl came in the sixth when Cabrera took exception to nearly getting hit by Yankees pitcher Tommy Kahnle. Then, as play was about to resume, Cabrera approached Romine and they jawed at each other. Cabrera pushed Romine and followed that up with a left hand to Romine’s face.

Miguel Cabrera sets up to punch Yankees catcher Austin Romine (YES)
Miguel Cabrera sets up to punch Yankees catcher Austin Romine (YES)

This wasn’t a let’s-just-push-each-other baseball fight, these two were really going at it. You can see Romine and Cabrera at the bottom of a pile of players and Romine throwing punches into Cabrera’s gut.

Earlier in the game, Tigers starter Michael Fullmer hit Yankees star Gary Sanchez with a pitch. But when Cabrera came to bat and Kahnle threw behind him, that’s when things really got testy. Kahnle Yankees manager Joe Girardi were both ejected. The Yankees sent Aroldis Chapman in next. But Chapman hadn’t even thrown a pitch before Cabrera and Romine started fighting.

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As Jason Beck of MLB.com points out, the two teams have beef going back to July 31, when they each hit a player on the opposing team. Kahnle was in the middle of that too.

When play restarted, both Cabrera and Romine had been ejected. But the fireworks didn’t stop there. In the next inning, Yankees reliever Dellin Betances hit James McCann of the Tigers in the head with a 98 MPH fastball. For that, Betances and acting Yankees manager Rob Thompson were ejected. Benches cleared again, but it was calmer this time around.

If you thought that was the end of it, wrong. In the top of the eighth, Tigers pitcher Alex Wilson hit Todd Frazier of the Yankees, causing Frazier to get mad and the benches to clear again. Both Wilson and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus were ejected. There was a little more fury in the scrum this time, as Brett Gardner of the Yankees seemed really keen on fighting someone — Ausmus or anybody else.

You can bet some suspensions and fines will be coming from this game. It might just take MLB a while to sort everything out.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!