Tigers-White Sox benches clear: Luke Putkonen, Jim Leyland ejected

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Fireworks went off as the Tigers and White Sox added another chapter to their rivalry.

Benches cleared in the Tigers-White Sox game Thursday following a series of incidents in the fifth and sixth innings. Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen and manager Jim Leyland have also been ejected from the game. No punches were thrown by either team, but a group of each players gathered to discuss the day's events.

In the top of the sixth inning, Putkonen threw a pitch behind the back of White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez. He was immediately ejected by the home plate umpire, Chad Fairchild, but Ramirez took exception to the pitch and took a few steps toward the mound before being corralled by Tigers catcher Brayan Pena. Leyland was also ejected, though before he left for the Tigers' clubhouse he took three separate opportunities to jaw with Fairchild.

The incident that likely led to the situation came a half inning earlier, in the bottom of the fifth inning. Following Miguel Cabrera's 30th home run of the season, White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale threw a pitch near the head of Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder. No warnings appeared to be issued at that time. Leyland gestured several times from the bench, appearing to ask why the umpire did not step up at that time.

The Tigers likely are not getting any benefit of the doubt thanks to an incident about 10 days ago during a game against the Rays. Closer Fernando Rodney buzzed Cabrera's head with a pitch. After the game, Leyland told the press:

"We will not tolerate that. You can take that to the bank. We won't tolerate that up at the head, with anybody, not (just) Cabrera, but anybody. I'm not accusing anybody of anything, but we won't tolerate that. If you're going to just rare back and throw it, you can't throw it there. If you throw it down at the legs in or something for a purpose, I don't have any problem with that. But not upstairs.

"That'll cause a lot of problems for people," Leyland continued. "That's as simple as it is. That's not a good idea. That's not acceptable. If you want to throw inside, I have no problem with that. The old (expletive) about the one getting away, he's pitched long enough that they don't get away up there in that area, in my opinion. That won't be tolerated. You can take that to the bank. That's not acceptable.

(via MLive)

The next game, Tigers starter Rick Porcello hit the Rays' Ben Zobrist with a pitch. Though not ejected at the time, he was later suspended for six games. After initially appealing the punishment, he dropped the appeal Thursday and will begin his suspension. He is not expected to miss any games.

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