Benches clear twice, 4 ejected as Yanks top Sox

Tyler Austin absorbed a 97.7-mph fastball with his left elbow and slammed his bat violently on home plate, taking a few purposeful steps toward the mound. Joe Kelly removed the glove from his left hand and beckoned toward the batter, inviting this score to be settled in the center of Fenway Park.

Those actions cleared both benches and bullpens in the seventh inning of the Yankees’ 10-7 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday evening, and will surely be scrutinized by Major League Baseball in the days to come. They also delivered an unmistakable pronouncement: The rivalry is back.

“I felt like that it was intentional and I didn’t want to let anybody push myself around or do anything like that,” Austin said. “That’s why I went out there.”

Austin and Kelly each threw punches in the ensuing fracas, prompting their ejections. Yankees third-base coach Phil Nevin and reliever Tommy Kahnle were also tossed; Nevin said that he had been jawing at the Red Sox’s dugout, while Kahnle said he was incensed after having been pushed by an umpire.

Kelly claimed the pitch had been an inside fastball that got away. He left the field with his uniform jersey torn and spots of blood on his neck, while Austin sported a bloody lip.

“I was ready to defend myself,” said Kelly. “Someone comes in my property in my backyard? I have two dogs. Ready to come on my property and I’m being attacked, then I’m ready to defend myself.”

Aaron Judge had sprinted to the center of the pile, where he attempted to play peacemaker, pulling Kelly off Austin.

“I saw Kelly was on top of Tyler after he tried to tackle him, so my job was just to get Kelly up and get him off,” Judge said. “No one ever likes getting hit with 98 to the back. Everybody was pretty upset about it.”

Cameras also captured Austin landing a punch on the head of Red Sox third-base coach Carlos Febles. Austin acknowledged that he had thrown punches.

“I’m just trying to defend myself, man. That’s all that was,” Austin said.

Tempers initially flared in the third inning, when Austin slid hard into second base on a Tyler Wade fielder’s choice, his spikes connecting with Boston shortstop Brock Holt. Words were exchanged between Austin and Holt, which prompted the bullpens and benches to empty.

“I probably said something I shouldn’t have to start the whole thing,” Holt said. “I’m sorry for that. I just wanted him to know it was a bad slide. I think everyone on the field knows that it was.”

 

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