A-Rod finds an RBI in last road game with Yanks
All eyes may have been on Alex Rodriguez Thursday night in his last road game for the Yankees, but it was not until the eighth inning that he did anything worthy of attention. The major league record holder for grand slams with 25 came to the plate with one out and the bases full after an intentional walk to Chase Headley.
Need any more drama? The Yankees had already taken over the lead, 3-2, on a two-run double by Jacoby Ellsbury that originally had been scored a sacrifice fly and an error by rookie left fielder Andrew Benintendi.
Grand slam No. 26 did not come for A-Rod, who hit a dribbler in front of the plate and was thrown out at first base by catcher Sandy Leon. Brett Gardner scampered home from third base on the play for an insurance run that garnered Rodriguez an RBI. The wide grin on Rodriguez’s face in the dugout after the at-bat was evidence enough that he considered a 0-for-4 performance that dropped his season batting average below .200 (.199) to be a success.
The 4-2 final was the second straight comeback victory against Boston’s porous bullpen. The Yankees got next to nowhere again against lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez, who gave up a solo home run to Austin Romine in the third inning and just two other hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven innings. Rodriguez has a 2-5 record with a 5.43 ERA this year but against the Yanks is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings. His career mark against the Yankees is 4-1 with a 1.88 ERA, including 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA at Fenway Park.
The Yankees could not wait to feast on reliever Brad Ziegler and loaded the bases on singles by Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks and Gardner before Ellsbury’s one-out liner to left eluded Benintendi, who appeared to have lost the ball in the lights. It was another big night against Boston’s relief corps for the Yanks, who scored 11 runs with 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings (17.47 ERA) the past two nights.
Meanwhile, the Yankees followed a night when eight relievers were used with three shutout innings combined from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up Luis Sessa and Dellin Betances (third save). Sessa was especially impressive with two perfect innings containing two strikeouts.
Betances did a wire act in the ninth. He gave up a one-out double to Leon, who battered the Yankees in the series (6-for-10, two doubles and a triple) and walked Benintendi before getting it together and striking out Dustin Pedroia and Zander Bogaerts.
So now it is back to Yankee Stadium for a weekend of tributes beginning Friday night with Rodriguez’s farewell in pinstripes. By taking two of three at Fenway to move to 3 1/2 games of the second wild-card slot, the Yankees have shown they are not ready to bid farewell to the season.