Detroit — The Tigers clubhouse was rather calm, serene even. No parting shots toward the Yankees. Just a bunch of renditions of, “Hey, that’s baseball.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was hotter. A lot hotter.
He was none too happy that his team lost three players to ejections over what he called a series of unfortunate — and unintentional — events.
Girardi took shots at the Tigers, but mostly the umpires, suggesting they lost control of the situation multiple times during the Yankees’ 10-6 loss to Detroit at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon.
“I just don’t understand it,” Girardi said in postgame comments aired on the YES Network. “Cooler heads have to prevail at some point. Umpires have to make some good decisions in this game. This game’s very important to us.
“We just fought back (to tie it at) 6-6. Just really poor.”
Short and sweet, here’s what happened.
■Tigers starter Michael Fulmer hit Gary Sanchez in the leg in the fifth inning, an inning after Sanchez hit his fourth homer in the three-game series. Girardi called it clearly intentional, plunking a guy who’d hit nearly a half-mile worth of home runs in the series to that point. Fulmer strongly disputed that, blaming numbness in his fingers for losing command of the pitch.
■Then, in the sixth inning, Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle threw a pitch behind Miguel Cabrera, who had words with catcher Austin Romine, then shoved him, starting the first benches-clearing brawl. Cabrera and Romine were ejected, as were Girardi and Kahnle, despite no warning having been issued.
“Cabrera went after him and you’re gonna throw my catcher out for protecting himself?” Girardi said. “I mean, pay attention. Somebody’s gotta pay attention to what’s going on in this game.”
■Then, in the seventh inning, Yankees reliever Dellin Betances hit Tigers catcher James McCann in the head. Girardi acknowledged it looked bad — it always does when somebody gets hit in the head — but there’s no reason for Betances to try any funny business, not in what at the time was a tie game for a Yankees team in the playoff hunt.
Betances wasn’t tossed at first, but after the umpires huddled, crew chief Dana DeMuth ejected him. Betances was visibly upset walking off the field, and Girardi clearly was fuming in the clubhouse.
“Well that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, it really doesn’t,” Girardi said. “So then (new pitcher David) Robertson hits the next guy (John Hicks) and he doesn’t throw him out, so to me there’s a lot of confusion. And that’s not to mention the strike zone late in the game. You know, just a very poor job on their (umpires’) part. Very, very poor.”
Talking to a pool reporter after the game, DeMuth said the pitch to Sanchez was not deemed intentional but the pitch to Cabrera was, while Betances was tossed “to keep control of the game.”
“The reason why it took a minute or so was because I wanted to get the players apart,” DeMuth said. “Once I got Detroit going to their dugout and New York going to their dugout, then I informed him that he was ran. It wasn’t necessarily of him intentionally beaning a batter, but to keep control of the situation, I deemed it necessary that he went.”
DeMuth went on to say that the pitch by Tigers reliever Alex Wilson that hit Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier in the eighth inning was deemed intentional. Wilson admitted as much.
Ausmus was much calmer and more measured in his postgame comments.
“You don’t see games like this very often, for good reason,” Ausmus said. “I hope I never see one again.”
Ausmus was much more heated on the field, though.
Girardi told YES Network that at one point, Ausmus told an unnamed Yankees player, “F--- you!”
“Come on Brad,” Girardi said. “What is that?”
Girardi and Ausmus were talking to reporters at about the same time, a hallway apart, so Girardi’s comments weren’t relayed to reporters who were in Ausmus’ office until Ausmus had long finished his postgame media session. Reached via text afterward for a response to Girardi’s claim, Ausmus told The News, simply, “False.”