BOSTON – The penultimate game of Alex Rodriguez’s Yankees career was heading for an unimpressive ending for both the DH and his team.
After looking lifeless for a majority of the game, the Yankees broke out for three runs in the eighth, stealing a 4-2 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Eduardo Rodriguez allowed only one run three hits over seven innings, but reliever Brad Ziegler coughed up a one-run lead in the eighth.
The rally began with Gary Sanchez’s infield single, which saw him collide with Hanley Ramirez at first base. One-out singles by Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner loaded the bases, then Jacoby Ellsbury hit what appeared to be a game-tying sacrifice fly.
Only left fielder Andrew Benintendi lost the ball, which got past his glove. Two runs scored on the play, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
Boston intentionally walked Chase Headley to load the bases with one out for – who else? – A-Rod.
Rodriguez worked a 2-2 count against the side-arming Ziegler, who came back at him with a nasty 76 mph slider. A-Rod reached out and somehow put it in play, squibbing it about 10-to-12 feet from the plate. Catcher Sandy Leon threw Rodriguez out at first, but Gardner scored on the play, pushing the lead to 4-2.
A-Rod finished the night 0-for-4 with an RBI, his 30th of the season and No. 2,085 of his career.
Michael Pineda pitched six solid innings, limiting the Red Sox to two runs on eight hits and two walks, striking out three in the no-decision.
The win moved the Yankees two games above .500 at 58-56, leaving them only 3.5 games behind the Red Sox for the second AL wild card spot. It’s the first time they’ve won back-to-back games since they won three straight from July 24-26.
Prior to the game, A-Rod spoke of his excitement for Friday, when he’ll put on the pinstripes for the final time in front of family and friends in the Bronx.
“First of all, I’m grateful that Hal gave me an opportunity to finish on Friday,” Rodriguez said. “My mom and the girls are on their way home to New York and they’ll get a chance to watch me. I’ll get a chance to say goodbye to our great fans. That’s where my focus is. The fact that I get to play today and tomorrow, I’m lucky.”
A-Rod stepped to the plate to lead off the second, welcomed to the batter’s box by a chorus of boos from the Fenway faithful. Those boos turned to cheers when A-Rod hit a soft line drive to Dustin Pedroia at second. He popped out to Pedroia in the fourth and struck out in the seventh before driving in a run with his dribbler in the eighth.
The Red Sox led 1-0 after Hanley Ramirez’s first-inning RBI double, but Austin Romine tied the game against E-Rod in the third, blasting a solo shot that cleared the Green Monster, settling on Lansdowne Street.
Boston took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on Ramirez’s second RBI hit of the night. It stayed that way until the eighth, when the three-run rally put the Yankees in control.
Luis Cessa, called up earlier in the day to assist the worn-out bullpen, threw two scoreless innings in relief of Pineda to earn the win. Dellin Betances fired a scoreless ninth for his third save.