NEW YORK (AP) — Again, again and again, the New York Yankees kept hammering away.
At the umpires — and the Cleveland Indians, too.
Manager Aaron Boone, Brett Gardner and the Yankees threw another severe temper tantrum Saturday, this time in prolonged rants that brought several members of the team spilling onto the field in a 6-5 win over the Indians.
“Kinda crazy, to be honest,” Gardner said.
Gleyber Torres hit two home runs and Didi Gregorius and DJ LeMahieu also connected for the AL East-leading Yankees.
But what really fired up the crowd of 47,347 at Yankee Stadium erupted in the sixth inning after Cameron Maybin was called out on strikes by Triple-A ump Ben May.
“Mayhem, I guess,” observed Cleveland catcher Kevin Plawecki.
For the third time in a month — each occurring with a minor league call-up umpire behind the plate — the team with the best record in American League lost its cool in a big way. This episode led to Boone, Gardner and pitcher CC Sabathia being ejected.
It also prompted Boone to accuse the umpires of picking on the Yankees.
“Frankly, I think it escalated because they came looking for it,” he said. “Think they were looking for us. It felt like a little bit.”
Said umpire crew chief Tom Hallion: “There was an ejection of Boone and things then kind of got out of control.”
The pitch to Maybin was, according to strike zone charts, a bit outside. He calmly stood and discussed it with May and went back to the bench.
“It should’ve been over. But he continued to stare into the dugout,” Maybin said.
Moments later, things heated up in a hurry.
Boone came rushing from the dugout to confront May, and engaged in an animated, extended argument. May listened, and Boone returned to the bench.
“I think that it was handled in a professional way,” Hallion told a pool reporter.
All seemed calm, in fact. For a moment, anyway.
That’s when Boone rushed out for another go at May, with Hallion coming in from second base, trying to quell the beef.
“We objected to a few calls,” Boone said, “had some issues.”
“In the heat of battle you get a little passionate,” he said, adding, “obviously, don’t like that.”
It was far from over, either.
With the fans screaming, and security personnel coming onto the field, several Yankees were hollering from the dugout, engaging in a close-up argument with first base ump Phil Cuzzi.
Gardner was ejected after banging his bat against the dugout roof — it’s become his habit lately — and then he climbed over the railing to continue the dispute with Cuzzi. Coaches Phil Nevin, Marcus Thames and Josh Paul also were on the field, holding back Gardner, who was also arguing with third base umpire Todd Tichenor.
Gardner said he was merely trying to rev up his teammates and didn’t think he deserved to be thrown out.
“Felt like I had a target on my back,” the intense outfielder said.
Gardner said nobody from MLB has told him he can’t bang his bat that way. There is no specific prohibition on that — the official baseball rule reads: “Each umpire has authority to disqualify any player, coach, manager or substitute for objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language.”
“I’m not saying what I did was right,” Gardner said. “But I probably won’t do it tomorrow.”
Last Friday, Gardner was tossed after a rant in Toronto. And on July 18, Boone screamed and hollered at a rookie umpire, leading to the expletive-filled rant where the manager called his hitters “savages” in the batter’s box.
Boone said this latest incident could lead to a discussion with MLB about recent behavior.
“It is our job to play under control,” he said.
James Paxton (9-6) went five innings for the win. Zach Plesac (6-4) was chased in the fifth.
Aroldis Chapman closed for his 35th save in 40 chances.
The Yankees honored former closer Mariano Rivera with a pregame ceremony, and he took a lap around the field on a golf cart. He’s the only player unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame, and his Cooperstown plaque was on display. “I’m glad I did OK,” he told the crowd in a short speech. He also threw out the ceremonial first ball — it was high.
The Yankees sent newly acquired righty reliever Ryan Dull back to Triple-A after the game.
Indians: If RHP Carlos Carrasco returns to the club this season, it will be as a reliever. Carrasco threw 25 pitches of batting practice at Class A Lake County on Friday — it was his first time facing hitters since being diagnosed in June with a treatable form of leukemia. Carrasco could throw an inning Monday in a rehab appearance for Double-A Akron. A top starter in recent years, he hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 30 and there’s not much time to build up his strength to rejoin the rotation. But boosting the bullpen “is something he can latch onto and be a part of our team and really help us,” manager Terry Francona said.
Yankees: OF Aaron Judge was out of the lineup, a day after getting two hits following a 3-for-31 slump. Boone had said he wanted to give his slugger a day off this weekend.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (7-2, 3.34 ERA) is 6-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his last eight starts. He struck out 10 last year in his only previous start at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees: Sabathia (5-6, 4.78) is expected to come off the injured list to start Sunday. The 39-year-old has been out since July 28 with right knee inflammation. The plate umpire will be Cuzzi, by the way.
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