The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have one of the most heated rivalries in baseball, and the animosity isn’t generally far below the surface when they play.
But it erupted into a full-scale brawl when the pair faced off at Boston’s Fenway Park home on Wednesday night.
Benches clear, punches thrown in Yankees-Red Sox after Tyler Austin is hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly. pic.twitter.com/wvqoak8QMV— MLB (@MLB) April 12, 2018
The scrap was sparked by a 97mph pitch from Boston’s Joe Kelly which struck Yankees hitter Tyler Austin squarely in the side.
Both teams’ benches quickly emptied as punches were thrown, with the two players at the centre ejected from the game alongside Yankees third-base coach Phil Nevin and reliever Tommy Kahnle.
The pitch from Kelly, which followed a similar effort earlier in the inning that missed Austin, appeared to be in retaliation for an incident earlier in the game.
Austin slid into second base and caught Boston shortstop Brock Holt in the calf with the spikes of his boot.
Brock Holt said he got his leg cut pretty good on the Austin slide. Thought it was late. On Kelly? Holt: âIt shows that weâve all got each otherâs back.â— Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) April 12, 2018
Whether Kelly or Austin came out on top in the brawl that followed is hard to judge, but it was certainly the Yankees who were smiling at the end of the night.
They ran out 10-7 victors to end Boston’s nine-game winning streak.
Perhaps the biggest winner though was Kelly. Not always a favourite among Red Sox fans, he’s found himself with an army of new admirers.
The only thing I would had done different than Joe Kelly tonight, is I wouldâve hit Tyler Austin at his previous at bat. Other than that, Kelly executed perfectly #YankeesvsRedSox— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) April 12, 2018
My respect for Joe Kelly just went through the roof. Drilled a dude to protect his teammate and then when Tyler Austin tried to act all tough, Kelly told him to come out to the mound if he was gonna do something.— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) April 12, 2018
My new favorite Red Sox player is Joe Kelly.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) April 12, 2018