BOSTON (AP/CBS) — Alex Rodriguez got hit by a fastball from Boston starter Ryan Dempster in the second inning Sunday night, setting off an angry scene at Fenway Park and leading to the ejection of New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
A-Rod answered with his bat in the sixth by hitting his 649th career home run in New York’s 9-6 win.
The game between the longtime rivals quickly turned testy, with the benches and bullpens clearing and the teams being warned about beanballs by plate umpire Brian O’Nora.
Dempster appeared to take aim at Rodriguez, who recently was suspended for 211 games by Major League Baseball in the Biogenesis drug case. Rodriguez appealed the penalty and can play until there is a final decision.
Booed when he was on deck at the end of the first inning, Rodriguez was jeered when he led off the second inning. Fans chanted “You’re a cheater!” as Dempster threw his first pitch behind Rodriguez’s knees.
Dempster missed inside with the next two pitches and then threw a fastball that hit A-Rod’s elbow pad and deflected into his back.
O’Nora immediately issued an emphatic warning to both benches, and a trainer escorted Rodriguez to first base. Rodriguez stared at Dempster, but made no move toward the mound.
“I was just trying to pitch him inside,” Dempster said casually after the game.
“I don’t know that he hit him on purpose,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I don’t think he did.”
Girardi, however, ran onto the field and began hollering at O’Nora. Presumably in disbelief that Dempster hadn’t been ejected, a livid Girardi wildly swung his fist — and it came near O’Nora’s chin.
Girardi said O’Nora should have issued a warning to Dempster after the first pitch to Rodriguez and Dempster should have been ejected.
“You have to have your head in the sand with the comments that came from the other side not to know that something might be up,” Girardi said. “I thought it was handled very poorly.”
In the sixth, Rodriguez hit a leadoff drive to straightaway center field against Dempster and let out a scream as he rounded first base. The three-time MVP clapped his hands as he stepped on home plate and pointed to sky.
After the game, the Yankees’ slugger took issue with Dempster.
“Whether you like me or hate me, what’s wrong is wrong. That was unprofessional and silly,” said Rodriguez. “Kind of a silly way to get a guy on your team hurt as well.”
When asked if Dempster should be hit with a suspension, A-Rod had a little fun though.
“I’m the wrong guy to be asking about suspensions,” he said, drawing laughter from the media.
The home run was Rodriguez’s second since coming off the disabled list Aug. 5 and it left him 11 behind Willie Mays for fourth place on the career list.
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