BOSTON - Alex Rodriguez was hit by a fastball his first time up and then homered to start a four-run sixth inning that rallied the New York Yankees to a 9-6 win over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected after storming out of the dugout to holler at plate umpire Brian O'Nora, who warned both benches immediately after Rodriguez was plunked by Ryan Dempster's 3-0 pitch leading off the second inning. It struck his left elbow pad and ricocheted off his back.
"He should have been thrown out of the game," Girardi said. "Everyone knows it was intentional."
Players streamed from the dugouts, but no skirmishes developed in the latest testy game between the longtime rivals.
"It's obviously an odd situation," A-Rod said. "The game has a way of policing itself."
The dustup seemed to spark the Yankees, who were trailing 2-0 at the time. Mariano Rivera earned his first save since blowing three chances in a row for the first time in his career.
Rodriguez, who went 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs, was suspended recently for 211 games by baseball in the Biogenesis drug case. He appealed the penalty and can play until there is a final decision.
Boston's lead in the AL East was cut to one game over Tampa Bay after the 4-hour, 12-minute game that saw Rivera receive a standing ovation as he ran in from the bullpen for the ninth. In his first appearance since last Sunday, he got his 36th save in 41 opportunities.
With two runners on, Rivera retired Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a fly ball for the final out. CC Sabathia (11-10) got the win and the Yankees took two of three from first-place Boston.
Boston manager John Farrell said he didn't feel Dempster hit Rodriguez intentionally.
"He was trying to establish his fastball," Farrell said.
Booed every time he came to bat, Rodriguez drew more jeers after he led off the sixth with his second homer of the season to cut the lead to 6-4. Brett Gardner soon followed with a three-run triple off Drake Britton.