New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is hit by a pitch in the second inning of Sunday's game against the Boston Red Sox. (REUTERS/Dominick Reuter)
A-Rod gets plunked, then goes deep in Yankees' win over Red Sox
Rodriguez's sixth-inning blast off Ryan Dempster, the right-hander whose pitch struck A-Rod in the second inning, sparked a four-run rally that allowed New York to erase a 6-3 deficit.
With a 3-and-0 count to his first batter of the second inning, 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 the warning.
"Everyone knows that it's intentional, and I don't understand why (Dempster is) left in the game and then to give us a warning?" Girardi said. "That was wrong."
Rodriguez said, "Whether you like me or hate me, that's wrong and that was unprofessional and silly and kind of a silly way to get somebody hurt on your team, as well. ... That play brought us together, and Joe's reaction was amazing. Hopefully we can take this and build some momentum for the rest of the year."
The Red Sox, though, insisted the plunking was not intentional.
"I don't know that he hit him on purpose," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I don't think he did."
"No, I was trying to pitch him inside," Dempster said.
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.
"I put this loss on me," Britton said. "We were ahead until I came in the game. I did the best I could. We've got a big series coming up on the West Coast, and I've just got to focus on that."
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.
Asked if Dempster should be suspended for drilling him with a pitch, Rodriguez replied, "I'm the wrong guy to ask about suspensions."
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.