NEW YORK -- Hours before the Yankees took the field on Friday, Aaron Boone's measured tone reverberated in the clubhouse, reminding his players that they comprise one of the league's best rosters despite a recent spate of injuries. Those friendly intonations did not generate a hit through 17 at-bats, so the rookie manager shifted to a new tack.
With umpire Nic Lentz playing a supporting role by ejecting Boone for arguing balls and strikes in the fifth inning, the Yankees rallied behind their skipper's fiery exhibition of pitch-framing techniques. Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks and Miguel Andujar homered in a four-run sixth, and Gleyber Torres delivered a go-ahead knock in the eighth, powering a wild 7-5 victory over the Tigers at Yankee Stadium.
"I kind of thought it was funny," Hicks said. "That was kind of what we needed. We know how good we are. That's pretty much what it comes down to. We know we're a good team, and we need to win ballgames to assure our spot. We just keep pushing. That's the way we're built."
Boone was ejected during Torres' at-bat in the fifth inning, brushing caps with Lentz before squatting behind home plate to demonstrate the strike zone. The Yankees trailed by three runs at the time, smarting from Niko Goodrum's homer and Jim Adduci's two-run triple off Luis Severino in the top half of the frame. Boone couldn't contain his ire any longer.
"I just had some issue with the zone on a couple of key pitches that I felt were missed, and I took exception to it," Boone said. "I guess he had heard enough."
Gardner sparked the rally by celebrating his own bobblehead night with a two-run homer to right field, simultaneously breaking up Jordan Zimmermann's no-hit and shutout bids. Hicks and Andujar went back-to-back off Zimmermann later in the inning, with each player slugging his 23rd homer.
First-base umpire Paul Nauert ruled that Voit checked his swing, and Voit drew a walk to load the bases. Torres made Detroit pay with a two-run knock to left field off Alex Wilson.
Cooling his heels in the video room, Boone cheered; his players agreed that the right buttons had been pushed.
"He protects all the guys, for sure," Torres said. "In that moment, he's the manager. He does the job. We feel proud for that. After that [ejection], we were a little more excited. We played to win, and we did."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Voit's nine-pitch battle against Jimenez was a key point of the eighth inning, as Voit fought to foul off four pitches and sat on the final two sliders, including the disputed check swing. The crowd roared as Gardenhire earned his 77th career ejection, stomping toward Nauert at first base. While there, Gardenhire asked Voit if he had swung.
"[The umpire] said I didn't, so I didn't swing," Voit said. "I just started laughing. He was getting a kick out of it. He's old school. He's trying to have fun. He's trying to help his players and have his players' back."
"He looks like a country boy," Gardenhire said of Voit. "I was a little frustrated and said, 'Did you swing?' And he just [shakes his head 'No']. You've got to have those moments out there. I was frustrated and ... my wife's watching this game, and I don't want her to see the angry side of me. But he did have a big smile on his face."
Severino struck out 10 over six innings of three-run, six-hit ball, without a walk. His 199 strikeouts are the fourth-most by a Yankee through the club's first 135 games of the season, trailing David Cone (215 in 1997), Ron Guidry (215 in 1978) and Carsten Sabathia (201 in 2011).
HE SAID IT
"I hadn't stretched yet tonight, so I wanted to make sure I was good and loose. I guess I was giving my kids something to make fun of me about." -- Boone, on his crouch behind the plate