Red Sox

Tigers' Cabrera banned seven games, Yankees' Sanchez four for fight

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Tigers' Cabrera banned seven games, Yankees' Sanchez four for fight

NEW YORK - Two of baseball's biggest hitters were suspended Friday after taking some menacing swings with their fists.

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was banned seven games and New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez got barred four games for their actions on a fight-filled afternoon at Comerica Park.

Major League Baseball handed out the penalties one day after the Yankees and Tigers got into a trio of beanball-related clashes during Detroit's 10-6 victory.

Also suspended were Tigers reliever Alex Wilson (four games), New York catcher Austin Romine (two games) and Detroit manager Brad Ausmus (one game). All four players were appealing and remain eligible until the process is complete.

Sanchez, an All-Star bopper on a powerful tear at the plate lately, was in the lineup for Friday night's home game against Seattle, catching and batting third for the playoff contenders.

"It's going to be four games that I'm not going to be able to help the team and I know they need me, so it's not a good feeling," he said through a translator.

New York began the day 4+ games behind first-place Boston in the AL East but leading the wild-card race.

Cabrera and Wilson also contested their penalties, keeping them available for Friday night's game at the Chicago White Sox. Ausmus can still manage until Wilson's situation is decided.

Detroit entered 55-71, far out of the playoff chase in the American League.

Cabrera, who squared off with Romine at home plate in the most furious fight of the day, was annoyed that 6-foot-7, 282-pound Yankees rookie Aaron Judge was not punished. The two-time AL MVP said Judge and Sanchez tried to hit him while he was on the ground.

"There was a lot of people going after me over there and I got a suspension," Cabrera said in Chicago. "I'm not surprised. They're MLB, they do whatever they want and they have to control this situation. But be fair. See the video, see the people who throw punches, see the people who were after me when I was on the floor. That's it."

Replays clearly showed Sanchez throwing punches at prone Tigers players who were down near the bottom of piles.

"Things got out of control pretty quickly there," Sanchez said. "I have a really good relationship with Romine. In the moment of everything, instinct takes over. I went out there to defend my teammate, my team. Definitely the situation got out of control a little bit there, but at the end of it all, what you're trying to do is you're trying to go out there and protect your team."

Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, ejected after hitting Tigers catcher James McCann in the helmet with a pitch, was not suspended or even fined.

Detroit starter Michael Fulmer also avoided any punishment despite hitting Sanchez with a pitch after he homered off the right-hander.

The announcement was made by Joe Torre, the former Yankees manager who is now Chief Baseball Officer for MLB. In all, there were eight ejections in the game.

All five individuals who got suspended also were fined an undisclosed amount. Others fined for their actions included Yankees manager Joe Girardi, bench coach Rob Thomson, outfielder Brett Gardner, reliever Tommy Kahnle and Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias.

Kahnle was ejected for throwing behind Cabrera after Sanchez was plunked by Fulmer.

"The guy threw at me," Cabrera said, not buying Kahnle's explanation that the pitch simply got away. "C'mon, why didn't you say you threw? Be a man and say you threw."

Wilson and Ausmus were ejected in the eighth inning after Wilson hit Todd Frazier around the thigh with a pitch, prompting the benches to clear for a third time.

Wilson essentially acknowledged he drilled Frazier on purpose to "take care" of his teammates and "make a stand." The pitcher felt as though that contributed to his suspension.

"In this case, I think, honesty was not the best policy," Wilson said, adding that he was only surprised by the length of his ban. "It's amazing to me. I tell the truth versus not saying anything, and somebody watches the video, that it's a difference. But obviously, it is at this point. I guess lesson learned."

"I really don't think I did anything wrong. I didn't hurt anybody. I put a bruise on the guy's leg - and that's the first ball that was below the waist on the day," he added. "From where I stand, it could have been a lot worse. But lesson learned on speaking the truth in certain situations and we'll move on."

MLB said Cabrera was suspended for "inciting the first bench-clearing incident and fighting," while Sanchez was penalized "for fighting, including throwing punches."

The news release also said Wilson was punished "for intentionally throwing a pitch" at Frazier "while warnings were in place for both sides." Romine was banned for "fighting, including throwing punches," and Ausmus got barred "for the intentional actions of Wilson while warnings were in place."

"I still think I was defending myself," said Romine, whose brother, Andrew, plays for the Tigers.

A pair of Yankees players, first baseman Garrett Cooper and outfielder Clint Frazier, received fines for going onto the field while they were on the disabled list.

ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

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ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

NEW YORK -  With a soaring shot headed for Yankee Stadium's Monument Park, Aaron Judge got New York back on track for another memorable October.

Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the unflappable New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and tie the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Baby Bombers trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored when Gary Sanchez hit a go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees overcame three errors and have roared back from a second straight 0-2 series deficit - they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth to cap a three-hitter. New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs and won for the 18th time in their last 21 home games.

Yankee Stadium will be rocking again when Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday. It's a rematch of the series opener, when Keuchel outdid the Japanese right-hander in a 2-1 Astros win.

An AL MVP candidate marred in a sluggish October, Judge sparked the Yankees by chasing McCullers, who baffled the Yankees with his power breaking ball.

Except for the last one.

Judge launched a curveball into the netting above center field's Monument Park for New York's second hit.

"Once we're within striking distance like that, anything can happen," Judge said.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch pulled McCullers after 81 pitches, Didi Gregorius tripled off Chris Devenski and Sanchez brought Gregorius in with a sacrifice fly.

"I thought Aaron's home run just lit a little spark," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a double to left, and pinch hitter Chase Headley then did the same - only after falling between first and second base, taking one step back, then heading for second and sliding in ahead of Jose Altuve's tag.

"Panic," Headley recalled. "I went from one of the best feelings of my career to one of the worst in just a matter of seconds, but fortunately it worked out."

Brett Gardner brought in Frazier on a groundout, and Judge came to bat with the bundled crowd on its feet.

He reached down to stay with a slider and drilled a double high off the left-field wall as a fan in a longsleeve yellow shirt reached down and touched the ball. Gardner came home with the tying run, and Gregorius grounded a single just beyond shortstop Carlos Correa's reach to put runners at the corner. Sanchez, who had been 0 for 13 in the series, scored them both with a slicing drive that skipped to the wall in right-center.

Houston had not lost consecutive games since Sept. 8-10 at Oakland and the major leagues' best road record during the regular season. The Astros had just three hits and are hitting .153 in the series.

Yankees starter Sonny Gray pitched one-hit ball through five innings but again had no run support. His teammates have yet to score for him in four career postseason starts while he's still on the mound, including twice with New York this year.

Houston took a 3-0 lead in the sixth after George Springer walked leading off, and Josh Reddick reached on catcher's interference by Austin Romine - inserted into lineup for his defense.

Robertson walked Altuve and struck out Carlos Correa before Yuri Gurriel lined a three-run double past Frazier and all the way to the wall. Gurriel got hung up between second and third as Altuve scored, and he was tagged out by Judge to end a rundown.

Houston added a fourth run when second baseman Starlin Castro misplayed Brian McCann's grounder in the seventh, allowing Marwin Gonzalez to score from second. It was Castro's second error of the game.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

BOSTON — Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire's interview for Red Sox manager is scheduled for Wednesday, a baseball source told NBC Sports Boston. He'll be the third to interview for John Farrell's old job, following favorite Alex Cora on Sunday and Brad Ausmus on Monday — and may be the last to interview as well. 

The Sox could move quickly from here. Announcing hiring is tricky this time of year, because MLB doesn't want personnel moves to detract from the playoffs. 

But if Cora ends up the choice, as is most likely, his introduction is further complicated by the fact that his team, Houston, is still playing — and could be playing in the World Series.

MORE:

Cora, who would be a first-time manager unlike Ausmus and Gardenhire, is close with Red Sox second baseman and leader Dustin Pedroia and is drawing interest across the game.

Gardenhire would be something of a safe hiring, considering his 13 years as manager of the Minnesota Twins. A few days shy of his 60th birthday, Gardenhire would have to prove he could handle a vastly different market than Minnesota, and also connect with players despite being older than both Ausmus (48) and Cora (41). 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE