BOSTON – Alex Rodriguez pointed his index fingers to the sky in celebration, letting the boos of the Fenway Park crowd sink in as he touched home plate after launching a Ryan Dempster fastball 446 feet over the center field wall, igniting a four-run sixth inning for the New York Yankees that would ultimately lead to a 9-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night.
Rodriguez’s rally-starting blast was the perfect revenge for his first at-bat of the night, when Dempster threw three straight pitches inside on him before intentionally drilling A-Rod with a 92-mph fastball. The ensuing chaos saw Yankees manager Joe Girardi extremely fired up in a shouting match with home-plate umpire Brian O’Nora, who warned both benches but failed to eject the Red Sox pitcher. Rodriguez would ultimately come around to score the Yankees’ first run of the game as a result of the hit-by-pitch.
"Whether you like me or hate me, that was wrong," Rodriguez told reporters after Sunday's win. "It was unprofessional and silly."
While Rodriguez remained calm about the incident, Joe Girardi was much more vocal in his views on the intentional plunking.
"You can't start throwing at people," Girardi said. "Lives are changed by getting hit by pitches. Whether I agree with everything that's going on, you do not throw at people and you don't take the law into your own hands. You don't do that. We're going to skip the judicial system? It's 'My Cousin Vinny.'"
As annoyed as Girardi was by Dempster's actions, he was even more peeved at umpire Brian O'Nora for not taking action and tossing Dempster from the game.
"Ryan Dempster has hit six guys in the last 320 innings. He threw the first ball behind (Alex Rodriguez), intentional. He threw the next one inside, he didn’t hit him, intentional," Girardi vented during his post-game news conference. "At some point, Brian O’Nora has got to give him a warning. And he should’ve thrown him out of the game is the bottom line. Everyone knows it was intentional and I don’t understand why he’s left in the game and then to give us a warning? Brian and I have a long history together back in A ball, Double A, and I respect him. But that was wrong."
The Red Sox beat up on Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia for six runs in 5 1/3 innings and led 6-3 entering the sixth. However, Rodriguez’s lead-off blast against Dempster was the start of something special as the Yankees batted around. Dempster was finally knocked out of the game after allowing a pair of singles and a walk. Brett Gardner then welcomed reliever Drake Britton to the game by ripping a bases-clearing triple to deep right-center field, putting the Yankees up 7-6. During the sixth, the Yankees lost shortstop Eduardo Nunez to a hamstring injury suffered on his one-out single.
"I felt pretty good; throwing the ball pretty well, and I felt good," Sabathia said after the game. "I just got behind some guys and wasn't able to make pitches, but I'm glad we got the win."
Mark Reynolds, the newest Yankee, added an insurance run one inning later with a pinch-hit RBI single off Franklin Morales. Chris Stewart provided an RBI single of his own in the ninth to score the Yankees’ final run of the game.
Alex Rodriguez was arguably the player of the game after providing three hits, a pair of RBIs, and two runs scored. He is now hitting .319 since returning from the disabled list.