Detroit — History nearly revisited itself Monday at Comerica Park — though nobody really wanted to see it.
In September 2014, pitcher Mike Fiers — then with Milwaukee — hit Giancarlo Stanton (then with the Miami Marlins) in the face with a fastball, causing Stanton facial fractures, chipped teeth and lacerations on his face.
Flash forward to Monday at Comerica Park, Fiers (now with the Tigers) hit Stanton (now a New York Yankee) in the upper left elbow during the third inning of Monday’s 4-2 Tigers victory.
Fiers hitting Stanton loaded the bases.
Stanton immediately glared at Fiers, and both benches were set to empty onto the field before order was quickly restored.
Stanton got a measure of revenge in the sixth inning with a 456-foot home run into the left-field bleachers, punctuated with a bat flip and another stare down of Fiers, along with pointing at the pitcher after crossing home plate.
Fiers was adamant he wasn’t throwing at Stanton.
“Anybody knows watching this game I’m not throwing at him,” Fiers said. “He’s going to act the way he’s going to act, but it kind of shows his character.
“Obviously I wasn’t throwing at him. The pitch was in and if I could throw every pitch anywhere I wanted every time, I’d probably be one of the best pitchers in this game.
“I have to throw in, throw up, and throw everywhere to keep these guys from making good contact.
“I’m not trying to hit anybody. But I definitely have to throw in and those things happen every once in a while.”
Fiers said he wasn’t surprised by Stanton’s reaction, but was disappointed.
“Not really surprised, I understand the history and I understand it was a bad moment for him,” Fiers said of the incident in Milwaukee. “I just think the way he handled (after Monday’s home run) is a little childish.
“He got his revenge and throwing his bat and pointing, that’s not part of this game. You’re supposed to have fun but it’s a little childish. But I understand, he was happy, he got it back, but whatever.
“He’s upset because of the history, and rightfully so, but he has to understand it wasn’t on purpose, and especially you look at the situation and what’s going on in the game. I’m not trying to hit him there.”
Manager Ron Gardenhire strongly supported his pitcher.
“Baseball has that all the time, guys pitching inside,” Gardenhire said. “There was no intent. I know Mike wasn’t trying to load the bases. We all know that.
“I know there’s history there. I know all about it. But I can tell you Mike Fiers wasn’t trying to hit him (Stanton) and load the bases.
“The ball got away. I also certainly understand what Stanton is talking about. They have history. I get it. But there was nothing there. It’s baseball. Luckily we moved on from there and nothing really happened.”