When the dust settled over Comerica Park on Thursday evening, the Detroit Tigers had denied the New York Yankees a series sweep with a 9-6 victory, denting the chances of Joe Girardi’s team catching the Boston Red Sox to win the American League East.
The result, though, is about the last thing anyone is going to remember from Major League Baseball’s wildest game of the season so far.
Five players, both managers and a bench coach were ejected from the game after a bench-clearing brawl that began with a confrontation between Yankees catcher Austin Romine and Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera.
“Began” here is something of a misnomer, as often seems to be the case in baseball where tensions are allowed to fester and mutate for months between series. MLB.com noted that the Yankees and Tigers began to stew on July 31 when Tommy Kahnle, the Yankees pitcher, hit the Tigers’ Mike Mahtook on the helmet with a fastball. In the next inning, Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer hit Jacoby Ellsbury.
And so to downtown Detroit, almost a month later, and a demonstration that baseball players have unusually long memories. Fulmer, the starting pitcher for the Tigers, hit Gary Sanchez in the fifth inning, on the hands. Then Kahnle threw a ball behind Cabrera’s back, leading to his immediate ejection. Girardi came stomping out to protest; the Yankees manager, too, was ejected, before Romine and Cabrera began jawing and throwing punches. In the melee that followed, Sanchez appeared to aim punches at Cabrera in the pile, a decision that will almost certainly lead to a multiple-game suspension for the Yankees catcher and sometime Designated Hitter.
That wasn’t even the end of it. After Cabrera and Romine had been ejected, Yankees closing pitcher Dellin Betances struck James McCann in the helmet at 98 miles per hour. Betances and Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson were both ejected. In the eighth inning, Tigers relief pitcher Alex Wilson hit Todd Frazier, leading to his ejection and another clearing of the benches.
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It’s just as well, perhaps, that the Yankees and Tigers will not meet again this season.
— MLB (@MLB) August 24, 2017
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