The rivalry lives on. The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox engaged in a massive brawl during the seventh inning of a game at Fenway Park on Wednesday, April 11.
The animosity began in the third inning when Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin slid spikes first into Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt’s leg. The rivals began yelling at one another as players from both dugouts and bullpens raced over. Austin, 26, and Holt, 29, eventually cooled off, and the game resumed.
“I don’t think it was intentional. I think he was going in hard, and it was a bunt,” Holt said after the game, via ESPN. “I’m not going to turn a double play on that, especially with Wade running, so I think he was just going in hard, but he went in hard a little late with his spikes up.”
Austin disagreed, saying, “My slide into second base was a clean slide, and I play the game hard. I thought there was absolutely nothing wrong with that slide.”
But four innings later, the benches cleared again when Red Sox relief pitcher Joe Kelly hit batter Austin directly in the ribcage with a 97.7 mph fastball. Austin immediately became enraged, slamming his bat and helmet down on the ground before charging toward the mound.
Red Sox catcher Christian Vázquez ran behind Austin and tried to grab him. Kelly repeatedly punched Austin, leaving the latter with a swollen lip. Both teams ran out as the kerfuffle intensified. Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge wrapped his arms around Kelly, while Judge’s teammate Giancarlo Stanton pushed his way through the other players. Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames shoved Austin across the infield toward the Yankees’ dugout.
Austin and Kelly were ejected from the game, along with Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin and reliever Tommy Kahnle. After the field cleared, the players resumed, and the Yankees won in a 10-7 victory.
“I was ready to defend myself,” Kelly said after the game. “If someone comes on my property in my backyard, I’m going to put up two dogs and get ready to defend myself.”
The teams have had a long history of fights over the years. Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens and Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez infamously fought during the 2003 AL Championship Series. The brawl ended with Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martínez picking up Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer and throwing him to the ground. The following year, the Red Sox’s Bronson Arroyo hit the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez with a pitch before Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek punched A-Rod in the face.
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