Tempers flare in Yankees-Red Sox opener

John Lackey #41 of the Boston Red Sox John Lackey #41 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after Francisco Cervelli #17 of the New York Yankees hit a solo home run in the fifth inning. (Aug. 30, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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BOSTON -- Four batters hit by pitches. A bench-clearing near-brawl. A coach and a manager ejected. Claps, fist-pumps and stare downs. A 3-hour, 59-minute game.

Oh, right. It's Yankees-Red Sox.

Yankees backup catcher Francisco Cervelli and Red Sox starter John Lackey were the main combatants in Tuesday night's extracurricular activities during the Yankees' 5-2 win at Fenway Park.

Lackey hit Cervelli in the back with the first pitch of the seventh inning after Cervelli had homered over the Green Monster in the fifth and then clapped his hands with great enthusiasm as he hit home plate.

Lackey glared at Cervelli after the clapping and drilled him two innings later. Cervelli took exception and got into it with Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the benches and bullpens slowly emptied.

Said Lackey: "I was definitely not trying to hit him. I was trying to knock him down for sure. You can go look to see where he stands in the box. You got to get him off the plate a little bit."

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Joe Girardi raced out of the dugout to keep Cervelli in the game because Russell Martin was banged up and unavailable except in an emergency. And Jorge Posada was in the game as the DH and hasn't caught a pitch since October.

The fracas never reached the level where it seemed any punches would be thrown. Starter and winner CC Sabathia yelled at Lackey and pitching coach Larry Rothschild was ejected for arguing with third-base umpire Mark Wegner.

Asked if he thought Lackey had tried to hit Cervelli, Girardi said, "I do."

Cervelli is known for playing with great emotion. He pumped his fists furiously after Boone Logan struck out Darnell McDonald to end the seventh inning with the bases loaded in a three-run game.

"That's Cervelli," Cervelli said. "I've got so much adrenaline and maybe [need] to control it a little bit. I don't try to do anything bad. It's part of the game. It's Yankees-Boston and everybody wants to win."

Asked what he and Saltalamacchia said to each other, Cervelli said: "I don't remember. A lot of Spanish because at that moment, I forgot English."

As usual with Yankees-Red Sox, other batters were hit with pitches. Curtis Granderson appeared to be hit on the hand in the first inning, but plate umpire Ed Rapuano said the ball hit his bat. Still, Sabathia plunked Jacoby Ellsbury in the bottom of the first.

Posada was grazed by a pitch from Matt Albers in the eighth inning. And with two outs in the ninth, Saltalamacchia was hit by Mariano Rivera and awarded first even though it appeared he had swung.

The HBP brought the tying run to the plate. Girardi was ejected by Wegner for arguing.

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"It's a swing," Girardi said. "And he said he didn't swing. It's a swing. Clear as day. That's a big baserunner because a home run ties the game now."

Rivera retired pinch hitter Josh Reddick on a liner to left to end the game. It was exciting. It was late. It was Yankees-Red Sox. There'll be more Wednesday night.

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