Rodriguez looks to lead the Yankees to their seventh straight victory at Ameriquest Field as they wrap up a three-game series Wednesday with the Texas Rangers.
Rodriguez reached base three times and scored twice in the Yankees’ 7-4 win at Texas on Tuesday—New York’s third win in four games since a three-game losing streak. The two-time AL MVP was walked twice and hit by a pitch after going 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI in Monday’s series opener.
Rodriguez has been booed recently by Yankees fans for his spotty hitting and poor play in the field. A-Rod, who committed five errors in a five-game span last week and led the American League with 18 going into Monday, cleanly handled four fielding chances Tuesday.
Rodriguez hasn’t been popular in Texas since leaving the Rangers, who could not afford the $252 million contract they originally signed him to in 2001 before trading him to the Yankees before the 2004 season.
However, the crowd, which has booed him mercilessly this week, cheered for him when he was shown on the stadium’s “Kiss Cam” after the sixth inning and playfully pecked teammate Andy Phillips on top of the head.
“That’s the first kiss I’ve had in a long time. (The fans) loved it,” said Rodriguez, who has just six hits in his last 32 at-bats.
Aaron Guiel, claimed off waivers from Kansas City on July 5, homered for the second straight game Tuesday for the Yankees (58-40), who are 5-0 at Ameriquest this season. Guiel, who was in a 2-for-19 slump before the homer, has helped an outfield weakened by injuries to Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui, both of whom have been on the disabled list for more than two months.
Center fielder Johnny Damon also missed his second straight game with a sore back.
Rod Barajas homered for the Rangers (51-50), who have lost three straight and are one-half game behind Los Angeles and Oakland in the AL West. Manager Buck Showalter was back in the dugout after missing two games because of an irregular heartbeat brought on by dehydration.
John Rheinecker (4-4, 5.13 ERA) will look to help Texas avoid being swept. He gave up four runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings of the Rangers’ 6-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, but did not receive a decision.
The rookie left-hander, who has never faced the Yankees, was coming off an 8-1 loss at Baltimore in which he allowed seven runs in 3 2-3 innings and is 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in his last three starts.
“You can use the same refrain for his outings here lately,” manager Buck Showalter said. “There have been a lot of hard-hit balls. It’s happened a lot.”
New York will counter with Jaret Wright (6-6, 4.71), who allowed five runs and seven hits in just 2 2-3 innings Friday in a 7-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. He had won consecutive starts, allowing just three runs in 11 1-3 innings in victories over the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay.
Wright, who has not pitched more than six innings in any of his 16 starts this season, is 1-3 with a 5.00 ERA in six career starts against Texas. He has lost his last two against the Rangers, including a 6-2 defeat on May 18, when he allowed three runs in six innings.