Bench-clearing brawl leads to four ejections for Yankees and Red Sox [Video]
The fuse has been officially lit in the newest chapter of the ramped-up Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.
Zim vs. Pedro. A-Rod vs. Varitek. Munson vs. Fisk.
And now, Tyler Austin tangling with Joe Kelly.
In a matchup between clubs that have long clashed, Austin rushed the mound after being hit by a pitch from the Red Sox reliever, triggering a bench-clearing brawl Wednesday night as New York ended Boston’s nine-game winning streak with a 10-7 victory.
“It’s Yankees-Red Sox. That’s what everybody wants. That’s what they got,” Boston starter David Price said.
Austin slid spikes-first into shortstop Brock Holt at second base in the third inning. No surprise, the sides saw it differently
Four innings later, the Red Sox retaliated.
“Two competitive teams going at it and stuff happens,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “But sometimes stuff shouldn’t happen and there was no reason for fisticuffs to have to happen based on that slide at second base.”
Gary Sanchez hit two home runs in a game that twice saw the benches empty and a fight that resulted in four ejections.
A day after the Red Sox romped 14-1, the benches cleared briefly in the third after Austin’s spikes clipped Holt’s leg on a slide into second base. Holt took issue with the contact and they exchanged words before being separated.
“I probably said something I shouldn’t have to start the whole thing, so I’m sorry for that,” Holt said. “But I just wanted him to know that it was a bad slide, and I think everyone on the field knows that it was, and I think he knows that now too.”
Said Austin: “I thought there was absolutely nothing wrong with that slide. I had no thought that they were going to throw at me.”
With the Yankees leading 10-6 in the seventh, Kelly nearly hit Austin with an 0-1 pitch.
“I thought it was over after that,” Austin said.
Far from it.
Two pitches later, Kelly caught him on the side with a 98 mph heater. Austin slammed his bat on the plate, threw it down and took four steps toward the mound while hollering. Kelly waved Austin at him, and things quickly got out of hand.
“It escalated,” Holt said.
Kelly hit Austin a couple of times, and the Yankees designated hitter wound up with a swollen lip.
Trying to hit Kelly, Austin instead tagged Red Sox third base coach Carlos Febles.
The scuffle spilled across the field before it broke up in front of the Boston dugout on the first base side, with Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton pushing the pile. Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames used both hands to shove Austin all the way across the infield toward the New York dugout.
Kelly had visible red marks on his neck after the game.
“I was ready to defend myself,” he said. “Someone comes on my property and in my backyard — I’ve got two dogs and if you come on my property and I feel like I was getting attacked then I’m going to have to defend myself.”
Austin, Kelly, Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle and third base coach Phil Nevin were ejected.
This was the second bench-clearing brawl of the day in the majors. Colorado star Nolan Arenado charged the mound after San Diego’s Luis Perdomo threw a pitch behind him.
“It made me wonder, too, if they were in their clubhouse watching the Padre-Rockie brawl and planted the seed for them and led them to think that that’s why they should do,” Cashman said.
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