Just when you think the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry may be losing some of its fire, something happens. On Tuesday night, it happened to be John Lackey hitting Francisco Cervelli in the seventh inning and the ensuing clearing of the benches.
No punches were thrown, and order was quickly restored, but the skirmish may set the tone for what could turn into a very interesting series.
Lackey drilled Cervelli with a 91-mph fastball on the first pitch of the top of the seventh inning. Cervelli, who hit a home run onto Landsdowne Street off Lackey and then had an emphatic celebration at home plate after doing so earlier in the game, took exception to being hit. That prompted Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to have some words with his catching counterpart, which led to the benches and bullpens clearing out.
Both benches were warned, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild was ejected by third base umpire Mark Wegner following the ordeal.
Things may have actually started in the first inning, though, when Lackey went up and in on Yankees center fielder and MVP candidate Curtis Granderson with a fastball. The ball was ruled to have hit the knob of the bat, despite Granderson’s protest that the ball had hit his hand. Regardless, it was a pitch that was up and in.
In the bottom of the first, Yankees starter CC Sabathia hit Jacoby Ellsbury with a fastball to lead off the inning.
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