BOSTON — Alex Rodriguez had a dramatic response to being hit by a pitch Sunday night: He homered later in the game, helping the New York Yankees come from behind for a 9-6 win over the Boston Red Sox.
With a 3-and-0 count to his first batter of the second inning, Boston right-hander Ryan Dempster threw a fastball that either got away from him or was intended to deliver a message. The pitch hit Rodriguez, prompting the benches and bullpens to empty and plate umpire Brian O’Nora to issue warnings to both teams.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected by O’Nora for arguing.
In the sixth inning, Rodriguez led off against Dempster again, but this time the Yankees third baseman homered to center field on a 1-and-0 pitch. It was Rodriguez’s second homer in 12 games this season since returning from offseason hip surgery and a quadriceps injury.
Boston held a 6-3 lead entering the sixth inning, but Rodriguez’s homer sparked a four-run rally that put New York on top for good.
Dempster exited with the bases loaded and one out, and left-hander Drake Britton gave up a three-run triple to Brett Gardner, the first batter he faced, as the Yankees grabbed a 7-6 lead.
The Yankees added single runs in the seventh and ninth innings to pull away.
Dempster (6-9) went 5 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia (11-10) wasn’t sharp, but he lasted long enough to earn the win. He pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits and five walks (one intentional).
Four Yankees relievers blanked the Red Sox over the final 3 2/3 innings, but Mariano Rivera pitching the ninth for his 36th save.
Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez each had three hits for the Yankees, and Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki added two hits apiece.
Shane Victorino, David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks all had two hits for Boston.
Rodriguez is playing while appealing a 211-game suspension issued by Major League Baseball, and his attorneys earlier Sunday began the process of filing a grievance that claims A-Rod’s medical treatment was mishandled this season and last season.
NOTES: New York won two of three in the weekend series. … Yankees SS Derek Jeter took ground balls and batting practice Sunday at the Yankees’ complex in Tampa, Fla., but he will not be activated from the disabled list Tuesday, when he is eligible. Jeter, out due to a strained right calf, has yet to run the bases or play in a game. He will play in a simulated game Monday … The Yankees are off Monday. RHP Ivan Nova and RHP Phil Hughes will be the starters in Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Toronto, Blue Jays, who will start RHP Esmil Rogers and LHP Mark Buehrle. … The Red Sox start a string of six interleague games Monday, with three in San Francisco and three in Los Angeles. DH David Ortiz is expected to play two games in San Francisco at first base. … Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia was back in the starting lineup Sunday night after fouling a ball off his left ankle in Saturday’s game and leaving in the ninth inning. … Red Sox 1B Mike Napoli was not in the lineup for a second straight day as he battles plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He will be re-evaluated Monday.
On Saturday, the Red Sox, which lost 93 games last season, carried their fifth three-game skid of the season into the game but defeated the Yankees 6-1.
“Depth of the roster. Consistent starting pitching in general and in some of those games where we needed to dig a little deeper to come back from a potential loss we’ve been able to do it,” manager John Farrell said after John Lackey pitched a strong 6 2/3 innings to get his first win since July 12.
“We have a good team.”
Lackey, who recently said he didn’t think embattled Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez should be on the field in the midst of his PED woes, let his pitching do his talking in raising his record to 8-10 and outdueling Hiroki Kuroda (11-8). Afterward, he said his comments on A-Rod were overblown and meant nothing to him during the game. He also said Rodriguez has the right to play under the collectively bargained appeal process.
“Lackey was outstanding today. Threw the ball very well,” said Rodriguez. “He’s having a big year for them.”
Lackey, ending a four-decision/five-start losing streak, got 15 of his 20 outs on ground balls, five of them to him no surprise, considering he has the most assists by an AL pitcher this season. The top three hitters in the New York lineup were a combined 0-for-9 with nine groundouts.
After there was some talk in the media of Lackey throwing at him, Rodriguez, again lustily booed by the Fenway Park crowd, went 0-for-2 with a walk against Lackey and finished the day 0-for-3.
Lackey has pitched well enough to be better than his record. He has also won over a fan base that hated him two years ago, before he missed all last season with Tommy John surgery.
“We needed a win today, especially as a team more than anything,” he said. “That was nice to get.”
Kuroda, often a victim of non-support this season, was let down again. He gave up three runs in the fourth inning, a frame marred by a throwing error by first baseman Lyle Overbay and a blown call by third base umpire Bill Welke on a double steal. Kuroda, who didn’t give up a run in five of his previous seven starts, gave up five on Saturday, matching a season high. However, only three were earned, leaving his ERA at 2.41.
Jacoby Ellsbury, in a 3-for-25 slump coming in, had three hits and two RBI. David Ortiz (batting .378 over the last 11 games) added his 24th home run of the season and Daniel Nova stroked two doubles for Boston, which got multi-hit games from six players.
“Papi, he’s the heart and soul of that team,” said Rodriguez.
New York’s Alfonso Soriano, 13-for-18 with five homers, nine runs scored and a record-tying 18 RBI over his last four games, singled his first two times up. But he was also foolishly doubled off second in the second inning and was caught stealing in the fourth; the latter coming on another blown call, this one by second base umpire Fieldin Culbreth.
Both calls could be challenged next year. Asked if he thought about what will be, Girardi said, “You think?”
As far as his team suffering the loss, Girardi said, “They are big losses in a sense. But you can’t make too much of one game and you’ve got to go out and win a series tomorrow. That’s the bottom line. We have to win the series. We have an opportunity to do that.”