In Thursday matinee action, the Yankees were visiting the Tigers and emotions ran high during a sixth-inning brawl that saw Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Yankees catcher Austin Romine ejected. They were far from alone, as the benches cleared several times in one of the more fight-happy games anyone will ever see.
The Tigers would end up winning 10-6, but the game seemed secondary here.
Here's the footage of the first incident:
Here's everything you need to know about the craziness that unfolded in Motown:
Gary Sanchez was crushing the Tigers this series
Yankees catcher (serving as DH at the time) Sanchez homered early in the game. He's been red hot of late and had dinged the Tigers with four homers so far in the series, including a 493-foot shot on Tuesday.
Sanchez got hit
Next time Sanchez came to bat, he was hit by a pitch from Michael Fulmer. It was the second pitch of the plate appearance and got him in the hip. This was the top of the fifth inning. It's hard to judge intent in any situation, but I think everyone could agree the optics here sure point to something fishy. Sanchez had been destroying the Tigers and wore one on the hip. The Tigers were winning and didn't have much to gain on the scoreboard from putting runners on, but putting Sanchez on first is better than giving up another home run.
Yankees appear to retaliate
In the bottom of the sixth inning, a pitch from Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle sailed behind Cabrera. Much to the dismay of Yankees manager Joe Girardi -- likely since there were no warnings yet in place -- Kahnle was ejected on the spot. Girardi soon followed him to the clubhouse with an ejection of his own.
After everything looked to have settled down, Cabrera started swinging
After the delay of Aroldis Chapman coming into the game and warming up in Kahnle's stead, Cabrera approached Romine and the two exchanged words. Obviously nothing could be seen with his mask on, but when Romine took his mask off, he could clearly be seen saying "I've got nothing to say to you."
Now, let's surmise that Cabrera was asking if he was going to wear a 100-mph fastball from Chapman. If Romine is just responding with "I've got nothing to say to you," doesn't Cabrera take that as a "yes?" And if so, why not start a fight now before having to take a fastball to the ribs?
Cabrera did exactly that. He pounced on Romine and it was on. Cabrera took a few swings and even appeared to land at least one.
Cabrera wasn't alone in throwing punches
Take note in the video of Yankees No. 24 when he arrives on the scene. That's Sanchez and heto Cabrera. He appears to get another punch in later in the scene, too. Romine, of course, gave back some punches to Cabrera.
Myriad ejections in this one as things kept spiraling out of control
Cabrera and Romine were ejected once order was restored, though Romine became especially angered after this, appearing to argue that he didn't do anything to deserve ejection. It was clear that Cabrera was the physical instigator. Of course, the umpires surely could say back that Romine threw punches and that's an automatic ejection.
But wait, there's more!
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Yankees reliever Dellin Betances hit Tigers catcher James McCann in the head. The benches cleared again, but there wasn't nearly as much action this time. That was likely because it was clearly unintentional. As Betances was pleading his case to the umpires to not be ejected, he pointed to the scoreboard. It was 6-6 at the time. Betances messed up, sure, but he didn't hit McCann on purpose. McCann would homer later, by the way.
Still, warnings had been issued and Betances hit a guy in the head. That's an easy ejection. In the aftermath, Yankees bench coach Rob Thompson was ejected as well.
Interestingly, David Robertson hit the following batter (John Hicks) on the hand, but it was clearly a pitch that ran too far. Robertson was noticeably angry at himself as it put two runners on base in a tie game. Still, it was curious that he wasn't thrown out, what with the warning already in place.
Then in the top of the eighth, Todd Frazier was hit by an Alex Wilson pitch. Yes, another one. Wilson was ejected on the spot and, since there were warnings issues, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus also got the boot. Frazier took a few steps toward the mound and the benches cleared again. Once there was a mob in the middle, Frazier tried to charge someone (the best bet is Wilson) and Brett Gardner could be seen screaming profanities in the direction of the Tigers while being held back.
Here's everyone who was ejected: Kahnle, Girardi, Cabrera, Romine, Betances, Thompson, A. Wilson, Ausmus
Verlander and V-Mart got into it in the Tigers dugout
Cameras caught Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez being held back from ace Justin Verlander. Click here for a brief clip of the two during the exchange.
YES Network showed images of Martinez talking to Gary Sanchez and other Yankees players in what appeared to be an effort to calm tensions., that didn't go over well in the Detroit dugout.
In a shot of the dugout Fox Sports Detroit aired, it looked like Nick Castellanos took issue with Martinez being in the vicinity of Sanchez. As Martinez walked away, Verlander clearly used profanity in the direction of Martinez while waving his hand away.
As for Sanchez, here's how he explained his actions:
James McCann got beaned and then got revenge
Tigers catcher James McCann took a Dellin Betances fastball to the head, and thereupon the benches cleared again. McCann later homered, so revenge was his..
Suspensions very likely on both sides
Surely Cabrera is going to be suspended. Sanchez likely gets nailed, too, as MLB reviews video. Fulmer, Kahnle, Wilson and Betances are candidates as well. The hunch is Kahnle gets one. It's anyone's guess on Fulmer, Wilson and Betances as MLB often tries to figure intent. Romine was defending himself, but he did throw punches, so that's likely to garner a suspension as well.
By the way, the game ended on a bit of a funny note. Sanchez struck out, much to the delight of the Detroit fans still in attendance.