A-Rod certainly wasn’t bothered by hearty boos he heard in his first game in Texas since admitting earlier this year that he used steroids while playing for the Rangers.
Even while insisting there was no extra motivation, Rodriguez had the perfect response: matching a career high with five hits and driving in four runs in New York’s 11-1 victory over the Rangers on Monday.
“There’s no panic. I know exactly what I’m capable of doing,” Rodriguez said. “I’m feeling much better each and every day.”
As for the red caps the Yankees wore for Memorial Day, Rodriguez called those “a little weird.”
After singling in the eighth inning in his fifth at-bat, A-Rod was lifted for a pinch runner with New York already up 10-0. His first five-hit game since April 2005 raised his batting average 70 points—from .189 to .259. He had 10 hits his previous 16 games since being activated from the disabled list May 8.
“He looked great. He didn’t try to do too much,” manager Joe Girardi. “He pulled the ball, hit some balls in the gaps, some up the middle.”
Phil Hughes(notes) (3-2) limited the Rangers to three hits over eight shutout innings, leaving after 101 pitches. He had allowed 17 earned runs in 15 2-3 innings since throwing six scoreless innings in his first start of the season April 28 at Detroit.
“The story for me was Phil Hughes,” Rodriguez said.
Maybe on any other day.
Rodriguez was booed when introduced before the game and each time he batted, though cheers from a group of Yankees fans were more prominent by the time A-Rod trotted off the field in the eighth.
Rodriguez played for the Rangers from 2001-03, when he first became baseball’s highest-paid player with a then-record $252 million, 10-year contract, and was traded to the Yankees prior to spring training in 2004. In an interview with ESPN in February, he blamed the pressures of that contract for his decision to use performance-enhancing drugs in Texas.
Rangers owner Tom Hicks, who said he felt “personally betrayed” after the slugger’s admission, said he had no plans to talk to Rodriguez this week. A-Rod did call him to apologize in February.
“Texas is a place that has been really good to me,” Rodriguez said after the win. “I have a lot of respect for the ownership here. I have a lot of good friends.”
Teixeira was playing his first game in Rangers Ballpark with the Yankees, but had already returned playing for Atlanta and the Los Angeles Angels since being traded less than two years ago. Harrison was among the players Texas got when Teixeira was dealt to the Braves in July 2007.
Teixeira heard his share of boos, though not as loud as those for Rodriguez.
“We’re Yankees, we get booed everywhere. It’s great. That means people care,” Teixeira said. “When you come into a visiting ballpark first game of a series, you want to make a statement.”
The Yankees matched their most runs this season and had a season-best 19 hits while winning for the 11th time in 13 games. Teixeira had two hits for his fifth consecutive multihit game.
Nick Swisher(notes), 7 for 61 with five RBIs in his first 21 games in May, drove in three runs. He had an RBI groundout, a run-scoring single and a sacrifice fly in the eighth that capped the scoring.
All three hits allowed by Hughes were doubles, two of them leading off innings. But the Rangers didn’t score until Cruz’s 12th homer, his fifth in six games.
Harrison allowed seven runs and 11 hits over five innings. … New York extended its franchise-record errorless streak to 12 games. … Yankees C Kevin Cash(notes), who came into the game 1 for 17, had three hits. … The sellout crowd of 48,914 was the second-largest of the season for Texas. The largest was opening day.