A-Rod's 660th HR lifts Yanks over Red Sox
BOSTON -- Alex Rodriguez stayed on the bench for seven innings, and then silenced the boos at Fenway by belting a pinch-hit solo homer over the Green Monster with one out in the eighth to snap a tie and lead the Yankees to a 3-2 victory over the Red Sox on Friday night.
It was career homer No. 660 for A-Rod, tying him with Hall of Famer Willie Mays. Rodriguez smashed a 94-mph fastball on a 3-0 pitch by Junichi Tazawa for the first pinch-hit homer of his career.
"It's always special to do it in a winning situation late in the game," Rodriguez said. "Obviously I have the utmost respect for the Red Sox. Just a lot of irony to it. I started my career here in 1994 when I was 18 and just marveled at walking into this beautiful stadium in front of these great fans."
Neither starter factored in the decision. CC Sabathia and Justin Masterson both gave up two runs over six innings. Masterson faced one batter in the seventh.
Allen Craig gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the fourth by raking a two-out homer to left against Sabathia, his first homer of the season.
The game stayed there until the top of the seventh, when Brian McCann lined a two-out RBI single to left against lefty reliever Tommy Layne that tied the game. That set the stage for Rodriguez's dramatic moment, which the Yankees celebrated by giving Rodriguez a beer bath in the clubhouse after the game.
"It's a big hit for us in that situation," manager Joe Girardi said. "It allows us to use our bullpen the way we want to use it, gives us the lead. He gets by the 660 and we move on and play."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Say Hey, Alex ties Willie: According to Statcast, A-Rod's 660th left the bat at 117 mph and traveled a distance of 419 feet, with a launch angle of 19 degrees. It was Rodriguez's sixth since returning from a performance-enhancing drug suspension that cost him all of the 2014 season. There was no special in-stadium announcement to mark the occasion, though Rodriguez's home run total and the fact that he tied Mays were announced in the Fenway Park press box. More >
"I'm just here to play baseball," Rodriguez said. "Anytime you're sandwiched between Willie Mays and Babe Ruth, it's special. But I'm really just enjoying playing baseball -- as much as I have in a long time."
Craig goes deep: Craig came into the night hitting just .118, but took a big swing in the bottom of the fourth, belting a solo homer over the Green Monster against Sabathia. It was Craig's second homer since joining the Red Sox on July 31, 2014. The long ball came on a night Craig was starting in right field at Fenway for the first time this season. More >
Two lucky bounces: Sabathia caught a couple of breaks in the middle innings en route to a no-decision. After serving up Craig's homer and issuing a four-pitch walk to Xander Bogaerts, Sabathia allowed a two-strike double to Ryan Hanigan that a fan touched down the left-field line, pinning Bogaerts at third as Sabathia got a groundout to end the inning. In the fifth, Mike Napoli's two-out ground-rule double to right-center bounced into the bullpen and forced Hanley Ramirez to stop at third, and Sabathia induced another groundout to wriggle free. He remained winless since April 24 of last season.More >
Mixed bag for Beltran: The Yankees were pleased to see signs of life from Carlos Beltran, who delivered a run-scoring double to left-center field in his first at-bat of the month after struggling through most of April. Beltran also singled in the fourth inning off Masterson, but jumped at Masterson's first pitch in the fifth following a walk and a hit-by-pitch and grounded out to leave the bases loaded.
HANIGAN BREAKS HAND; SWIHART CALLED UP
The Red Sox suffered another substantial blow to their catching depth when Hanigan suffered a fracture to the fifth metacarpal in his right hand. With Hanigan out, the club is calling up its No. 2 prospect, Blake Swihart, who is ranked as MLB's top catching prospect by MLB.com. More >
The injury will sideline Hanigan for at least several weeks, as surgery is expected. It happened when Red Sox lefty Tommy Layne hit Mark Teixeira on an inside fastball that ricocheted off the first baseman's right hand and torso and struck Hanigan's right hand.
"We've got to kind of get together and talk through the options that might be available, internal, external, and any available option that's there for us," said Farrell.
LOCKING IT DOWN
Dellin Betances' career-best hitless streak of 26 batters ended with Pablo Sandoval's one-out single in the eighth inning, but Betances struck out the next two batters and Andrew Miller pitched a perfect ninth with a strikeout to convert his ninth save in as many opportunities. The Yankees improved to 14-0 when leading after eight innings.
"Congratulations to Alex Rodriguez on his 660th home run. Milestones in baseball are meant to be broken and I wish him continued success throughout his career." -- Mays
"Hindsight on that one is going to be 20-20. I think everyone probably realized what he was up there for. Unfortunately, a 3-0 pitch found too much of the plate after falling behind in the count." -- Farrell, on Tazawa's pitch to A-Rod More >
Yankees: Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 4.15 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season and his second against the Red Sox on Saturday, as the American League East rivals play the second game of their weekend series at 1:35 p.m. ET. Eovaldi picked up a no-decision in his first career start vs. Boston on April 10, in a 6-5, 19-inning Yankees loss. In his last effort on Sunday, Eovaldi allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings to the Mets for a no-decision.
Red Sox: Wade Miley (1-2, 8.62 ERA) will try to overcome a bumpy April in which he didn't reach the six-inning mark in any of his four outings. The lefty surrendered seven runs (six earned) over just 2 1/3 innings against the Orioles in his last start, the second time in two weeks he pitched fewer than three frames.
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