Game 126: NYY vs. DET — Hitsville USA lives up to its name, in the worst way

Wow, that was a mess. Not exactly the way you want to close out a series, a lovely afternoon in Detroit. Basically, it was a rather complicated series of brawls in between playing a few innings of baseball.

So let’s talk about the baseball part first. Jaime Garcia got the start today, throwing 75 pitches into the 5th inning, giving up 5 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs (just 2 earned runs), and striking out just 2 Detroit batters. In the 1st inning, Garcia gave up a 2-out solo home run to get the Tigers on the board.

In the 4th, a lead-off double moved to 3rd on a line out, and then scored on a single. The lead-off batter in the 5th reached on a fielding error and moved to 3rd on a double. That would be the end of Garcia’s outing, with both runners in scoring position.

And it was on to Adam Warren, who struck out his first batter and then got himself into trouble. After a sacrifice fly scored the lead run and moved the other guy to 3rd, he loaded up the bases with consecutive walks. A single scored yet another run, and a ground-rule double scored one more.

So it was on to Tommy Kahnle to find that elusive 3rd out of the 5th inning with a nice strikeout.

Backing up a moment, the Yankees weren’t exactly being bowled over by the Tigers today. In the 2nd, Judge led-off with a single, advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on Chase Headley’s single to tie up the game. Gary Sanchez’s big lead-off home run in the 4th moved the Yankees into the lead.

In the 5th, Torreyes led-off the inning by reaching base on a fielding error. He then moved to 2nd on a ground out and ended up at 3rd on Gardner’s single, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly. The next batter was Gary Sanchez who was hit by a pitch quite inside, which was a tad scary for a moment, but he was okay in the end.

And that brings us to the 6th inning.

So, Kahnle is on the mound and throws behind the batter, a certain star from the Tigers, who promptly started chattering with catcher Austin Romine. Until suddenly, he shoved Romine and started swinging punches at the Yankees’ catcher. Benches cleared, people were literally pinned to the ground to keep them from fighting, it was just an absolute mess all over the field.

Now, leading up to this, manager Joe Girardi actually came up to argue with the home plate umpire that Sanchez could have been seriously hurt, and the umpires didn’t give a warning or anything, as per the usual procedure. Now, had a warning been issued after Sanchez was hit or even after Kahnle threw behind (though I’m not 100% sure it was intentional, and I will absolutely admit when a pitcher does something stupid like that). But no warnings, so it escalated and just got worse from there.

Anyway, so Girardi was the first to get tossed from the game for sticking up for his catcher (or DH today), but then after the melee at the plate, the Yankees also lost Kahnle and Romine. Romine’s ejection I thought was particularly stupid, as Romine didn’t do anything except get the brunt of the anger from the Tigers’ designated hitter, who also saw the exit at that point.

Aroldis Chapman came on to close out the 6th inning once tempers cooled a bit, and baseball was back on the program. Back to the top of the 7th, Torreyes and Ellsbury worked consecutive walks, and the Tigers’ starter was done for his outing. Brett Gardner’s single scored Torreyes and moved Ellsbury to 3rd. Ellsbury then scored on Hicks’ sacrifice fly, and the Tigers went back to their bullpen again. Gary Sanchez’s single scored Gardner to tie up the game again.

So, after a little 7th inning stretch, Dellin Betances came on. And promptly hit the batter with a wild pitch to the helmet. While that can certainly be jarring and scary, it was in no way intentional. Seriously, the game is tied, the last thing the Yankees want is a base runner to give the Tigers any chance to retake the lead.

And with tempers simmering just below the surface, brawl #2 was on. And that was followed by more ejections — Dellin Betances and bench coach (and acting manager) Rob Thomson, neither of whom agreed with the ejections. Seriously, Betances is sometimes just sloppy. He’s not that kind of pitcher to “get revenge” or whatever old-school belief that excuses hot-headed players when they “go after” or intentionally harm another player.

So it would be David Robertson to pitch for the Yankees. And despite hitting the first batter, the benches stayed filled. He loaded the bases with a walk and then gave up a 3-run double to give the Tigers the lead. Two strikeouts and an intentional walk later, Robertson got out of the inning with a ground out to 2nd.

In the top of the 8th, the Yankees were back up at bat, and the new Tigers’ reliever decided it would be fun to plunk Todd Frazier. So the reliever was ejected as was the Tigers’ manager who tried arguing his case against the ejection. (On a side note, that reliever ended up being on track for the win due to when all the Tigers’ winning runs were scored, which doesn’t seem right. If you get disciplined, you shouldn’t be rewarded in a statistic. Sometimes, the ethical side of the rules don’t line up with the technicalities of the game.)

In the bottom of the 8th, the Yankees called on Caleb Smith to close out their game. He gave up a 1-out solo home run to add an extra run to the Tigers’ lead at that point. And after another out, a single tried to stretch it into a double and got tagged out at 2nd because of the sharp arm of Gardner and quick reflexes of Torreyes at 2nd. A Tigers’ challenge was denied as the call was upheld on review.

A fairly quick 9th inning closed out the rather messy 4+hour game in Hitsville USA (or Detroit for the rest of America). And I can’t say many people were sad to see the game over and done and in the books. Not really one for the memory pages.

Final score: 10-6 Tigers, Yankees win series 2-1

Also, it was Brett Gardner’s birthday. Happy birthday, Gardner! Congrats on not being one of the eight people ejected from today’s game.

The Yankees head back to the Bronx to host the Mariners for Players’ Weekend. Yeah, I’m ready to move on from today.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: had some internet issues that would not fully load the videos, thus allowing me to link them correctly. I will try again when I clear up the issues. Not that anyone should be in a rush to watch the mess that was today’s game… I’d certainly rather forget it.}

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