BOSTON -- The Fenway Park crowd was electric with hostility each time Alex Rodriguez came to the plate on Thursday night, but they were reduced to groans when the Red Sox let a second straight rivalry game get away in a 4-2 defeat to the Yankees in the rubber match
BOSTON -- The Fenway Park crowd was electric with hostility each time Alex Rodriguez came to the plate on Thursday night, but they were reduced to groans when the Red Sox let a second straight rivalry game get away in a 4-2 defeat to the Yankees in the rubber match of a three-game series.
The Bronx Bombers scored three in the eighth against Brad Ziegler to quickly overturn the 2-1 lead Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez departed with.
Gary Sánchez, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner got the rally started with singles. With the bases loaded and one out, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a liner to left that Andrew Benintendi lost in the lights for a two-run double.
"It went in the lights, but that's no excuse," Benintendi said. "I should have caught it."
A-Rod (0-for-4) hit a dribbler in front of the plate in his final Fenway at-bat with the Yankees that scored Gardner for an insurance run.
"Not how I pictured it when I woke up this morning," Rodriguez said, "but definitely glad that run came in and we won the game."
• 'This is it': A-Rod set to bid adieu
E-Rod was marvelous for Boston, allowing three hits and a run while walking one and striking out six over seven innings. It was the second straight night a Boston starter left with a lead and had to settle for a no-decision. The lefty came out after 93 pitches, as Red Sox manager John Farrell felt his best chance to win was for Ziegler and Craig Kimbrel to pitch the last two innings.
"Where we were in the lineup with the guys that have done damage to him up to that point, felt like with Ziegler and Kimbrel available, turn it over to those two guys to close it out," said Farrell. "He did an outstanding job for those seven innings of work. On a hot, muggy night, I felt like that was the time to make a move."
Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda held Boston to two runs over six innings despite allowing eight hits.
• Tight losses mounting for Red Sox
The loss dropped the Red Sox three games behind the Blue Jays in the American League East and a half-game ahead for the second AL Wild Card. Meanwhile, the Yankees are now lurking 3 1/2 games behind Boston in the Wild Card race.
• Hanley injured on nasty collision at first
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Blinded by the light(s): Benintendi has had a stellar start to his Red Sox career, but he was frustrated by his inability to snare Ellsbury's liner at the crucial point of the game. In fairness, it's hard to catch what you can't see.
"Not much you can do about it," Benintendi said. "I tried to put my glove up where I thought it was going to be. It just went right over my glove."
A-Rod bids Fenway adieu: Playing in what is expected to be the penultimate game of his career in the ballpark where he made his Major League debut at the age of 18 while with the Mariners, Rodriguez provided the game's last run.
"Kind of a funny hit at the end," Rodriguez said. "I just really was thinking about getting one run in, at least, and extending our lead." More >
Ortiz heats right up: It didn't take long for David Ortiz to show he was over the right shin injury he suffered in Wednesday's game. In the first pitch of his first at-bat on Thursday, the slugger drilled a ground-rule double into the corner in right. He even scored from second on a single to center by Hanley Ramirez. Ortiz finished 1-for-3. Ramirez left the game in the bottom of the eighth after jarring his back trying to make a play at first base in the top of the inning. More >
Romine rocks one: E-Rod threw a hanging slider to first baseman Austin Romine in the third inning and Romine got all of it, belting a solo homer over the Green Monster to tie the game at 1. It was his fourth home run and 20th RBI of the season, both career highs.
"It will be pretty good for my Instagram account." -- Rodriguez, on a photo he took next to a No. 13 inside the Green Monster before Thursday's game
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In his young career, Eduardo Rodriguez has been masterful against the Yankees, going 4-1 with a 1.88 ERA in six starts.
Yankees: A-Rod will play what could be the last game of his career at Yankee Stadium against the Rays on Friday. He is expected to start at designated hitter after manager Joe Girardi declined his request to play third base. A ceremony honoring Rodriguez will begin at 6:50 p.m. ET before first pitch at 7:35. Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia (6-9, 4.18 ERA) will make the start for New York.
Red Sox: Lefty David Price is still in search of more consistency in his first season in Boston. Last time out against the Dodgers, Price gave up six hits and six runs (three earned) over six innings. At Fenway, Price is 6-3 with a 4.33 ERA. On Friday, he'll take the mound at 7:10 p.m. against the D-backs, who occupy last place in the National League West.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.
Aaron Leibowitz is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston and covered the Yankees on Thursday.