Friday, June 10, 2011
Updated: June 11, 10:23 AM ET
Yanks, Indians clear benches
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta engaged in a shouting match and had to be separated after Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was hit in the lower back by Indians starter Fausto Carmona in the bottom of the second inning on Friday night at Yankee Stadium, causing both benches and bullpens to empty onto the field.
After center fielder Curtis Granderson blasted a mammoth two-out solo home run into the second deck in right field, giving the Yankees a 4-0 lead, Carmona drilled Teixeira on the very next pitch, prompting a war of words between the two players as a clearly agitated Teixeira walked to first base after falling to the dirt and slamming his helmet down.
Teixeira appeared to yell "Throw the ball over the plate!" to Carmona as he walked to first.
Both benches cleared and met on the right side of the infield. Girardi and Acta came face to face in the middle of it all and began to exchange verbal barbs. Eventually they were pulled away from one another, and both teams returned to their respective dugouts.
No punches were thrown, and no one was ejected, but home-plate umpire Dale Scott did issue a warning to both sides.
After the Yankees beat the Indians, 11-7, Girardi said he became enraged because he believed Carmona hit Teixeira intentionally.
"I didn't have the first words, but I had some words [for Carmona], because I thought he hit him on purpose, and I didn't like it," Girardi said. "Manny and I are actually quite friendly -- we had a nice meeting on the field at 3 p.m. But that doesn't mean there's not some feistiness in me, and when my guys get plunked, I'm gonna protect them."
Acta vehemently denied any wrongdoing on the part of Carmona, saying, "It will always look that way, but he wasn't able to throw strikes. Only 45 percent of his pitches were strikes. I can't control what other people think."
Acta said he and Girardi's argument was something that escalated "in the heat of the moment."
"[We said to each other] he did, he didn't ... he did, he didn't. It's just normal baseball stuff. He was defending his guy and I was defending mine. It's as simple as that."
Coming into his at-bat against Carmona, Teixeira had been 8-for-18 (.444) off of him with a home run and four walks.
It was the seventh time Teixeira had been hit by a pitch this season. He was also hit in the knee on Tuesday by Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester.
"You start throwing balls at my head and my neck and head, there's no reason for it," said Teixeira, who finished 1-for-2 at the plate with three RBIs, two walks and a stolen base to go along with the hit-by-pitch. "Like I said, you want to send a message, throw the ball low. Hit-by-pitches are part of the game. Like I said, I've been hit plenty, guys try to bust me in to keep me off the pitch away sometimes. I got hit in the knee the other day, it was a cutter that just got away from Lester. I'm not going to get upset about that.
"But when I know it's a purpose pitch and it's up near my head, I take exception to that."
As Girardi pointed out, it's not the first time a Yankee has been plunked by an opposing pitcher.
"We've had [seven] guys hit in the last four days," Girardi said. "And if I was to say -- and I can't tell you [for sure] -- but if I was to say one was intentional, that was.
"He pitched Tex away all night, and that one is up in his rib cage behind his back.
"I told you I'm gonna protect my guys, and if someone's going to get thrown out or suspended, I'd rather it be me than Tex. That's for sure."
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.