The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees ramped up a notch Wednesday night, when the benches cleared twice, including a brawl headlined by Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly and Yankees designated hitter Tyler Austin.
Austin was at the center of an incident in the second inning when he slid into second base with his cleats up. Red Sox shortstop Brock Holt took exception, inciting a minor fracas. After Austin took a Kelly fastball to the ribs in the seventh inning, he slammed his bat to the ground and charged the mound, as the two players exchanged a number of punches in the skirmish.
After New York’s 10-7 win, Yankees manager Aaron Boone had some strong words for the Red Sox and how they handled the situation.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Boone said as seen on YES’s postgame coverage. “I don’t think (the Red Sox) should have, you know? I thought it was a hard slide into second, nothing remotely dirty about it, and so — to take matters into your own hands and go hit one of our guys, for that I thought was an overreaction. I didn’t think it was right.”
Boone backed Austin’s decision to charge Kelly.
“Tyler Austin is playing the game the right way, clean, the right way, and some guy decides to fire one at you (at) 99 (mph), you never know how you react in that situation, so I had no issue with that,” Boone said.
Boone wasn’t done there, as the Yankees first-year manager continued to question Boston’s reaction while defending Austin’s questionable slide.
“Because (Austin) came off the base, there could have been an issue from a replay standpoint based on the rules, but no, no,” Boone said when asked about Austin’s slide. “You know sometimes in your slide it carries you, and I don’t know if there’s any carryover from all the (Manny) Machado stuff last year, and they’re going to handle things a certain way now. I mean that was pretty innocuous if you ask me.”
Strong words from the Yankees’ new skipper.
The rivalry is back on.