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Banned plays on: A-Rod goes 1-for-4 in season debut

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Even with Alex Rodriguez back in the lineup, the New York Yankees couldn't beat one of the worst teams in baseball.

Hours after being suspended by Major League Baseball, Rodriguez went 1-for-4 Monday in his first game of the season during the Yankees' 8-1 loss to the White Sox. Chicago snapped a 10-game losing streak.

Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic, and he has three days to appeal. Rodriguez, who activated from the disabled list before the game after sitting out due to hip surgery and then a quadriceps injury, was lustily booed before each at-bat and when he ran onto the field before the game at U.S. Cellular Field.

"I felt OK. For the first game I felt ... you know," Rodriguez said. "It was a hard day today, that's for sure. Long day. Felt pretty good. From this moment on, I want to focus on baseball and play every game like it's do or die. Every game is very important for us."

Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, on the DL since April 27, was one of a dozen players who accepted his 50-game suspensions for their involvement with Biogenesis, the now-closed South Florida clinic that MLB maintains provided players with banned performance-enhancing drugs.

New York also placed shortstop Derek Jeter on the DL due to a right calf strain.

Batting cleanup and playing third base, Rodriguez hit a bloop single to left in his first at-bat, leading off the second inning. In the fourth, he flied out to deep center. His drive with one out in the sixth was caught on the warning track. In his final at-bat in the eighth, Rodriguez was called out on strikes while batting against Matt Lindstrom, drawing a loud cheer from the Chicago crowd that had been chanting "A-Roid!"

Even for all of thet abuse, Rodriguez appreciated being back on the field.

"I thought they were great. I love Chicago. I love the fans here. Just a great town, great people," Rodriguez said. "I'm just so humbled being on the field being able to play the game I love."

Rodriguez might have been glad about playing, but the Yankees weren't too happy with a result against a team that hadn't scored eight or more runs in a game since July 20.

Andy Pettitte (7-9) allowed three runs in the first on RBI singles by Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham plus a sacrifice fly by Adam Dunn. Rios added a two-run single in the second inning.

Alexei Ramirez's third-inning single pushed the lead to 6-0. Pettitte then loaded the bases and was relieved by Preston Claiborne, who walked Rios to give Chicago a 7-0 lead.

Pettitte, who hasn't won in his last three starts, gave up seven runs and 11 hits in 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. The 11 hits also matched a season high.

"Struggled again," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "When you look at the first inning, they really didn't hit him hard. You look at the second inning, they didn't him hard, but they were just well-placed. I think the first two innings wore him out."

White Sox starter Jose Quintana, who had one win since May 21, struck out five while allowing eight hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings. Quintana (6-3) had received six runs of support in his previous four starts, and he had no-decisions in 14 of his first 22 starts this season, the most in baseball.

"Again, it starts with pitching, and Q was great," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.

Chicago (41-69) started Monday 29 games below .500 for the first time since ending the 1976 season 64-97. The White Sox had also lost 10 straight for the first since June 1976.

Through a translator, Quintana said he felt happier about the team's win than his own because "we are on the winning side now."

While the White Sox took a break from their struggles, Rodriguez's are far from over. When asked if things would be easier after Monday, Rodriguez said, "I hope so.

"We're just getting started in this process, but for me personally, I just want to get back playing baseball, playing hard and playing with a lot of intensity and just want to see what our team has to offer here the next 51 games or so."

NOTES: The Yankees made a series of roster moves before Monday's game. Along with activating Rodriguez and moving Jeter to the DL, they recalled INF David Adams and designated UT Brent Lillibridge for assignment. The Chicago Cubs also claimed OF Thomas Neal off waivers from the Yankees. ... White Sox LF Dayan Viciedo made a lunging try on a Robinson Cano single in the first, and he was replaced by PH Alejandro De Aza in the bottom of the inning. Viciedo left with a jammed left thumb and is listed as day-to-day after X-rays came back negative. ... Yankees veteran Vernon Wells made his first career start at first base. He had played in 1,699 games before Monday. ... On Tuesday, Yankees RHP Hiroki Kuroda (10-6, 2.38 ERA) will face Chicago LHP Chris Sale (6-11, 2.92).
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