Alex Rodriguez finally got cheered. All he had to do was get hit by a pitch to quiet the jeers.
Chris Sale allowed one run while outpitching Hiroki Kuroda into the eighth inning, and the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Yankees 3-2 on Tuesday night.
In his second game back and a day after being hit with a long suspension, A-Rod reached base three times and again heard it from the crowd at U.S. Cellular Field. They continued to boo him nearly non-stop, pausing only when a pitch from Sale grazed his elbow near the belt in the third inning.
Then, the fans let out a big roar. And that did not sit well with manager Joe Girardi.
”There’s something wrong with that,” he said. ”I often think that it starts from the adults. And if it was their child, would they want them to be hit? Because the kids will only repeat what the adults do.”
If Rodriguez was bothered by it, he wasn’t saying. He insisted he loves the Chicago fans, just as he did after they laid into him on Monday, and that he was more upset that he forgot to put on his elbow pad.
”It was the weirdest thing,” Rodriguez said. ”Probably the first time in 2,000 at-bats. And walking up to the plate I said, `Whatever you do, just don’t get hit in the elbow.’ Second pitch I get hit in the elbow. I couldn’t believe it. I love the fans in Chicago.”
They’re certainly not showing him any in return. They let him hear it in his season debut on Monday, hours after Major League Baseball slapped him with a 211-game penalty for violating its drug agreement and labor contract, and it was more of the same on Tuesday.
Rodriguez was the designated hitter this time after playing third in his first game after offseason hip surgery. At the plate, he followed up a 1-for-4 performance by going 1 for 2 with a single and walk in addition to being hit by a pitch.
A-Rod was on deck when Alfonso Soriano struck out to end it with a runner on first, giving the Yankees their 13th loss in 19 games.
White Sox closer Addison Reed allowed up a single to a pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki, who took second on defensive indifference and came around on Brett Gardner’s two-out single. But Reed finished for his 27th save in 32 chances.
Adam Dunn singled and scored the tying run in the fourth, and Chicago took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Paul Konerko beat the relay throw on a force to deep third, allowing Alexei Ramirez to score after he led off with a single.
Doubles by Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza in the seventh off Kuroda (10-7) made it a two-run game, sending the White Sox to their second straight win after dropping 10 in a row.
”It feels good, especially coming off a win last night,” Sale said. ”Two means a streak. Hopefully, tomorrow brings some more good news and they’ll be some loud music playing after the game.”
Victimized by poor run support this season, Sale (7-11) got the win after going 1-9 over his previous 11 starts. He allowed five hits and left with one out in the eighth after Rodriguez led off with a single and Robinson Cano lined out.
Nathan Jones struck out Curtis Granderson and Lyle Overbay before the Yankees rallied against Reed.
Kuroda took the loss after going 3-0 in his previous five starts. He gave up three runs and nine hits, but the Yankees came out flat again after getting pounded 8-1 on Monday.
They’re hoping Rodriguez can provide a spark and boost their fading playoff hopes, but he’s coming off hip surgery and has a long suspension hanging over him after MLB lowered the hammer on Monday.
”You keep working them and encouraging them and hopefully this will turn,” Girardi said. ”Hopefully offensively we’ll start scoring more runs and things will turn.”
NOTES: The White Sox held LF Dayan Viciedo out of the lineup after he jammed his left thumb on Monday. Manager Robin Ventura said he was available as a pinch hitter and expected Viciedo back in the lineup on Wednesday. … Yankees closer Mariano Rivera insisted he’s still retiring at the end of the season and will not reconsider. … Girardi said C Francisco Cervelli, who was suspended 50 games on Monday, had surgery to remove hardware from his right hand. … RHP David Phelps will likely be out a few more weeks after sustaining a different strain in his pitching forearm than the one that landed him on the disabled list last month. And RHP Michael Pineda will be shut down for a week to 10 days after he left his start with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday because of shoulder stiffness.