A-Rod talks way into lineup, homers twice in 1 inning on sprained ankle in Yanks’ 10-2 win
NEW YORK (AP)—Alex Rodriguez limped his way into Yankee Stadium, then got angry when the team sent him to a hospital for tests on his sore right ankle.
Not only did he play Wednesday, he had a night befitting legends.
Rodriguez talked his way into the lineup and became the first Yankees player in 30 years to homer two times in one inning, connecting twice in an eight-run seventh to lead New York over Seattle 10-2. The Yankees opened a three-game lead in the AL wild-card race over the Mariners, who lost for the 11th time in 12 games.
“Kind of messed with my routine a little bit,” Rodriguez said. “I wasn’t very fired up about that.”
His ankle banged up following a collision with Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre on Tuesday, Rodriguez got to the ballpark at 2:30 p.m. and pronounced himself “ready to roll.” Getting into a car and heading for a scan wasn’t what he had in mind.
“We get any of us old folks in that MRI machine for an hour, who knows what the hell the thing is going to say,” Rodriguez said. “I knew I felt good enough to play, and I came with the mind-set ready to play.”
About an hour before game time, Yankees manager Joe Torre said A-Rod likely would be limited to pinch-hitting duty, and Rodriguez returned from the hospital thinking there was a 75 percent chance he wouldn’t play. He said had it been early in the year, he would have sat out.
Still, he met with Torre in the manager’s office.
“He said: `Let me just go out and run and see,”’ Torre said.
A-Rod then tested his ankle with a few jogs in right field while the Mariners were finishing batting practice. He ran in foul territory toward the dugout, up a runway and into the Yankees’ clubhouse.
“I’ve got to talk to the manager,” he said with a determined look.
Torre and the medical staff gathered with Rodriguez in the trainers’ room for about 10-12 minutes.
“He wanted to look at me in the eyes and make sure that I wasn’t lying to him and do something stupid or silly,” Rodriguez said. “I told him I could give him some quality at-bats.”
The two-time MVP walked and popped out in his first two plate appearances against Jarrod Washburn (9-13). Then, with the Yankees trailing 2-1, Rodriguez hit a 3-2 fastball into Monument Park in left-center leading off the seventh. Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada’s bases-loaded walk off Sean Green put the Yankees ahead, and New York padded the margin on Johnny Damon’s run-scoring grounder, Melky Cabrera’s RBI single and Derek Jeter’s two-run double.
Rodriguez then drove a 2-1 pitch from Brandon Morrow into the left-field seats for a two-run homer. He rounded the bases, received congratulations in the dugout and emerged for his second curtain call of the inning.
His first homer tied Mel Ott on the career list, and his second matched Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 17th place at 512. Rodriguez, who leads the majors with 48 homers and 134 RBIs, had the 51st multihomer game of his career and became the first Yankees player to homer twice in an inning since Cliff Johnson on June 30, 1977, at Toronto. Detroit’s Magglio Ordonez and San Francisco’s Bengie Molina also accomplished the feat this season.
“I can’t relate to it,” Jeter said. “It’s unbelievable. I haven’t seen anything like it in all my years playing.”
Rodriguez felt only 60 percent because of the ankle and his sore knee, and didn’t think he could play the field for several days. His first home run came less than a minute after the Yankees announced the MRI exam revealed a sprain and a bruise.
“He didn’t call us this morning saying it was a problem, but I think when our trainers saw that he was limping a little bit, that they alerted our doctor,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “I think he probably thinks it’s a waste of time. He self-diagnosed that he is fine.”
“Hopefully, there’s many more to come,” Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain hasn’t allowed a run in 12 1-3 innings over 10 games—the longest scoreless streak at the start of a Yankees career since Jim Bouton’s 15 innings in 1962.
“We’ll allow him to give up one next year,” Torre said.
Washburn dropped to 1-7 with 5.32 ERA in 11 starts since All-Star break, allowing three runs—two earned—and three hits in six-plus innings. An error by Jose Lopez led to the big inning—after Rodriguez’s tying homer, the second baseman let Robinson Cano’s grounder to bounce off him and into right field.
“We’ve played great ball,” Washburn said. “You just play good ball and turn it around. We have the talent to do it.”
Raul Ibanez’s two-run homer put Seattle ahead in the third, and Jose Molina started New York’s comeback with a home run in the bottom half. Seattle was hurt by two blown calls by umpires against Ichiro Suzuki.
Before Ibanez’s homer, Suzuki was caught stealing second even though Jeter missed the tag. In the fifth, Suzuki was out at first on a grounder he appeared to beat out.
“We’ve got to get out of it,” Mariners manager John McLaren said. “We’ll see what we are made of.”
Molina’s previous homer was on Sept. 14 last year for the Los Angeles Angels. … For the second straight night, the Yankees’ half of the seventh took 32 minutes. … Seattle pitcher Rick White was ejected in the eighth for arguing balls and strikes from the mound.