New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone went on a profane rant Thursday that seemed to spark his team's rally from a slow start to a 6-2 victory in the first game of a doubleheader against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The rant came after rookie umpire Brennan Miller called Brett Gardner out on strikes in the second inning. Gardner returned to the dugout, where he slammed his bat nine times into the bat rack, then eight times into the dugout roof.
Microphones caught Boone's yelling that the pitch was outside along with profanities to Miller, an International League crew chief who made his big league debut April 20 as a call-up umpire.
Miller said, "I heard you, Aaron," and when Boone persisted, the umpire ejected him. Boone then ran out and kept up the argument, getting close to Miller's face and clapping his hands for emphasis.
"My guys are f---ing savages in that f---ing box, right? And you're having a piece of s--- start to this game. I feel bad for you, but f---ing get better," Boone said, going on to repeat his thoughts several times. He told Miller to "tighten it up right now, OK?"
Miller, umpiring behind the plate for the fifth time in a major league game, had called Aaron Judge out on strikes following DJ LeMahieu's leadoff double in the first. Gardner batted in the second after Gio Urshela's tying, two-run homer and was called out on a 1-2 pitch.
Boone was ejected for the third time this season and the seventh time in two years as a big league manager. Asked whether Boone went too far with his use of profanity, crew chief Gerry Davis replied: "Yes, absolutely."
"Just a big game, and just felt like some things weren't going our way there early, and it felt like it needed to be known," Boone said after the game. "Sometimes in the heat of the battle, you just kind of utter some things. But I feel that way about our guys, no doubt.
"Certainly didn't want anyone else getting tossed. We were pretty heated there, several of our guys there in the first couple of innings. So I just felt it was necessary in that spot to kind of take the attention off some of the other guys."
"I loved it," German said through an interpreter. "Personally, I fed off that energy. It gave me a boost to concentrate and go out there, do my job and try to get this victory for him, because he went out there and fought for us. I felt that it was my responsibility to go back out there and return the favor."
As for calling his players "savages," Boone explained that they "make it hard on the pitcher all the time. That's something that those guys take a lot of pride in as a lineup. You may have your way with us, you may have success against us, but I want you to feel us."
First baseman Luke Voit said after the Yankees rallied to win the second game 5-1 that Boone has been referring to the team that way all year.
"Not a lot of coaches I think would back it up and use that type of word, but I think we appreciate it -- and we are a bunch of savages," Voit said.
As for Gardner, he laughed off his dugout antics.
"I can't throw my helmet anymore," he said. "Just making noise. Just being me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.