DETROIT — Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera and New York Yankees backup catcher Austin Romine fought at home plate, which led to both dugouts clearing in a wild melee at Comerica Park during the sixth inning on Thursday afternoon.
Cabrera and Romine were ejected, but they were not alone. In separate incidents, Yankes manager Joe Girardi, bench Rob Thomson, relievers Dellin Betances and Tommy Kahnle were also tossed, along with Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus and reliever Alex Wilson.
A series of events led to Cabrera and Romine jawing with Cabrera making the first move by pushing Romine in the chest and taking a swing. While both benches cleared and there was a lot of wrestling, the initial indication was that no one was seriously injured.
Besides Cabrera and possibly Romine, Yankees hot-hitting All-Star Gary Sanchez could be in line for a suspension, as he took several shots at Tigers during the fight.
Just prior to the fight, Yankees reliever Kahnle had fired a pitch behind Cabrera. Kahnle was immediately thrown out by home plate ump Carlos Torres.
This set off Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who bolted from the road dugout. Girardi made a scene, kicking dirt and forcefully arguing that the ejection was unjust.
What likely got Girardi going was the fact that Tigers’ starter Michael Fulmer remained in the game after hitting Sanchez on the hip in the fifth inning. An inning earlier, in the fourth, Sanchez had homered off Fulmer.
In the seventh inning, the ejections continued as Betances was tossed after hitting the Tigers’ James McCann in the helmet with a 98-mph fastball. Betances was only tossed after Detroit manager Ausmus argued. This led Thomson, the Yankees’ acting manager, to lose it, which led him to being thrown out, as well.
In the eighth, the Tigers’ Wilson hit the Yankees’ Todd Frazier near his left hip. Wilson was ejected, along with Ausmus. Both benches cleared and, while there was shoving, no more punches were thrown.
The Yankees were clearly mad about Fulmer plunking Sanchez. CC Sabathia, one of the team’s leader, was on the top step of the dugout, yelling at the Tigers’ starter Fulmer.
It all escalated until Cabrera and Romine were rolling on the dirt around home plate. Romine and Cabrera were both ejected. Romine contested being thrown out, apparently feeling he had no choice but to fight back when Cabrera began jawing at him and pushing him.
Romine’s brother, Andrew, is a member of the Tigers.