NEW YORK (AP) - Fausto Carmona couldn't find the strike zone in the first inning. The way the New York Yankees saw it, though, he was right on target when he plunked Mark Teixeira.
Alex Rodriguez hit a colossal home run, Curtis Granderson also connected and New York got back on track with an 11-7 victory over the skidding Cleveland Indians in a game that quickly grew testy Friday night.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Cleveland counterpart Manny Acta got into a nose-to-nose screaming match when both benches and bullpens emptied after a struggling Carmona hit Teixeira behind the shoulder with a second-inning fastball.
``My goodness, the guy couldn't throw 50 percent of his pitches for strikes. The other pitches, he just didn't hit anybody, but he couldn't throw strikes. I didn't think there was anything to it,' Acta said. ``It was OK when he was missing in the first inning when guys were walking. But when he's missing and hits somebody, then it's not OK.'
No punches were thrown and there appeared to be little pushing and shoving - if any. Plate umpire Dale Scott issued warnings to both teams, and there was no further trouble.
Whether or not Carmona intended to hit Teixeira, it certainly looked suspicious. One pitch after Granderson hit his team-high 19th homer into the second deck in right to give New York a 4-0 lead, a wild Carmona threw a pitch that was headed straight for Teixeira's upper back.
Teixeira ducked down and was hit squarely behind the right shoulder as he crumbled to the dirt. The slugger slammed down his helmet, then yelled and gestured at Carmona as he got up. Carmona motioned back.
``It kind of came at a bad spot, obviously. Granderson hit the home run and the next batter gets hit,' Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta said. ``I was trying to keep my head on a swivel, so if anybody started swinging ... ``
Carmona threw 14 of his first 18 pitches for balls and walked three in a 40-pitch first inning. He declined to speak with reporters after the game.
``I haven't seen him so divorced from the strike zone as he was today in the two years I've been here,' Acta said. ``His loading the bases in the first inning did him in.'
Ivan Nova (5-4) pitched seven sharp innings for New York, and Derek Jeter had one hit to move within nine of 3,000. Jorge Posada, breaking out of a season-long slump, added three hits and an RBI on a night when his figurine was handed out to fans.
Rebounding from a three-game sweep by the Red Sox, their second at Yankee Stadium in a month, New York sent Carmona (3-8) to his fifth straight loss and finished with 15 hits. The Yankees had dropped 10 of 14 at home.
``Sometimes it doesn't really matter if it's on purpose,' Rodriguez said. ``It was very important for us to bounce back and play our type of baseball.'
Teixeira stroked a three-run double that made it 10-2 in the seventh. Rodriguez followed with an RBI double.
Carlos Santana homered for the Indians, barely clinging to first place in the AL Central. Coming off a 1-6 homestand, they have lost 12 of 16 overall.
The opener of a four-game series was the first meeting this season between the teams. It didn't take long for both sides to get heated.
Girardi was the first Yankee out of the dugout when Teixeira got hit, rushing onto the field to usher the slugger toward first base and away from a potential fight. Soon the benches and bullpens had emptied as players streamed onto the field.
``It's just disappointing when you have a guy who gives up a long home run and is getting hit around a little bit and decides to throw one close to your head,' Teixeira said. ``Anytime it's a purpose pitch up near my head, near my neck, I don't like that. ... You want to send a message, just throw the ball low.'
Both sides milled close together between the mound and first base. Acta moved into the fray and was trying to assure Girardi that Carmona did not hit Teixeira intentionally. But the managers quickly got into a heated, face-to-face argument as an umpire attempted to keep them apart, and Acta could be seen cursing at Girardi on a television replay.
``Normal baseball stuff. Heat of the moment. He's defending his man and I'm defending my guy,' Acta said.
The banged-up Yankees are feeling a little sensitive about inside pitches these days.
Teixeira left Tuesday night's game against Boston writhing in pain after getting hit on the right kneecap by a first-inning pitch from Jon Lester, and Red Sox ace Josh Beckett plunked three New York stars Thursday night: Jeter, Rodriguez and Granderson.
Five walks and four hits allowed by inexperienced relievers in New York's injury-depleted bullpen prompted Girardi to bring in Mariano Rivera for the final two outs. He gave up a two-run single to LaPorta, then closed it out.
``You have to be encouraged by the fact that at the end of the game, at least they had to bring their closer in,' Acta said.
NOTES: Injured DH Travis Hafner took batting practice on the field for the first time since he strained a muscle on his right side May 18 and looked good, Acta said. The manager said Hafner would hit again Sunday and probably Monday, and if all goes well the Indians then will decide about a minor league rehab assignment.
The Associated Press News Service
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