NEW YORK (AP) — If Aroldis Chapman’s 101 mph brush-back pitch Tuesday night didn’t push the Yankees-Rays rivalry to its boiling point, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash’s threat certainly did.
“Somebody’s got to be accountable,” Cash said. “And the last thing I’ll say on this is I got a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph. Period.”
Chapman threw a 101 mph fastball near the head of pinch-hitter Michael Brosseau while closing out his first save of the season, prompting the benches to empty after New York ended a six-game losing streak against the Tampa Bay Rays with a 5-3 victory.
“We’re talking about a 100 mph fastball over a young man’s head,” Cash said. “It makes no sense. It’s poor judgment, poor coaching, it’s just poor teaching what they’re doing and what they’re allowing to do, the chirping from the dugout.”
Chapman’s first pitch to Brosseau with two outs in the ninth inning whizzed past Brosseau’s head. Umpires convened before issuing warnings to both benches, and Cash was ejected after coming onto the field to argue.
Chapman struck out Brosseau to end it, and Brosseau began walking toward the visiting dugout before turning back to exchange words with someone on the Yankees. The dugouts and benches emptied and players gathered near home plate, but they mostly kept their distance before dispersing to their respective clubhouses.
Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka also drilled Joey Wendle with a 95 mph fastball in the first inning, which Cash and Wendle both believed to be intentional. Players on both benches also exchanged words during a game Aug. 9.
“As far as if there was actual intent behind Chapman’s delivery, I’m not really sure, but pretty frustrating honestly,” Brosseau said. “It’s not what you want to see coming in off the bench, especially when we pretty much let everything go after Joey took the message for us and did it like a man, kind of just took it and carried on with the day.
“But if there was any intent behind it and they want to send another message, I guess they made their point.”
The Rays are 7-2 against the Yankees and lead second-place New York by 3 1/2 games. Tensions have run high between the clubs for years, at least since now-retired Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia was ejected for plunking Jesus Sucre in 2018.
New York manager Aaron Boone downplayed the fracas initially but was bothered when informed of Cash’s threat.
“That’s a pretty scary comment,” Boone said. “I don’t think that’s right at all. But I’m not going to get into it right now.”
“The comments from their manager, those made the rounds pretty quickly in our clubhouse,” Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu added. “Obviously that’s a pretty serious threat.
“It sounds like they’re going to try and throw at us tomorrow. We’ll be ready.”
Chapman began the season on the COVID-19 injured list. He had been 0 for 1 in save chances this season and was not made available for comment.
Gio Urshela hit a two-run double and scored on his own hit thanks to multiple Rays miscues in the sixth inning, and New York beat the Rays at Yankee Stadium for the first time this season.
Tanaka (1-1) pitched six innings of two-run ball in his longest outing of the season. Five days after getting pulled in the fifth inning after 66 pitches at Atlanta, he allowed two runs and three hits and struck out a season-high seven batters.
The Yankees mounted a rally off Ryan Thompson (1-2) in the sixth to snap a 2-2 tie. They took a 5-2 lead when Urshela hit a sinking liner to center field for a two-run double, then scored thanks to shoddy Rays defense.
Center fielder Kevin Kiemaier attempted to make a diving catch but the ball went by him and to the warning track, allowing Luke Voit and Clint Frazier to score. Urshela took third on the relay throw and scored when shortstop Willy Adames overthrew catcher Michael Perez for an error.
Urshela slid headfirst, and his right hand touched the plate before Perez could apply the tag from Thompson’s throw. The call stood after the Rays challenged.
Kiermaier hit a two-run homer in the fifth off Tanaka, and Adames hit a solo shot in the seventh off Jonathan Loaisiga.
Tampa Bay’s Trevor Richards allowed two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Rays: IF Yandy Diaz (strained right hamstring) was placed on the injured list, and Cash does not think they will know how the severity of the injury for another week. ... RHP Nick Anderson (forearm) is slated to throw about 20 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday. ... LHP Ryan Yarbrough (groin) played catch at 120 feet and will throw from 150 feet Wednesday. ... RHP Oliver Drake (biceps) threw 15 pitches in a bullpen session and will throw again Thursday.
YANKEES: SS Gleyber Torres (strained left quad/hamstring) could start getting some at-bats at the alternate training site at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the next day or two. ... Britton and C Kyle Higashioka were activated off the injured list. ... IF Jordy Mercer was designated for assignment. ... RHP Miguel Yajure was optioned to the alternate site. He pitched three scoreless innings his major league debut Monday.
UP NEXT: RHP Charlie Morton (1-1, 5.40 ERA) will return after missing over three weeks with right shoulder inflammation. Cash said he thinks Morton will be limited to 40-50 pitches. LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-1, 4.44) starts for the Yankees.