Alex Rodriguez brought out the boo-birds last night in the Bronx after his throwing arm and swinging bat helped the Tampa Bay Rays defeat the New York Yankees, 7-3, costing the Bombers first place in the AL East.
A-Rod's third-inning throwing error and fifth-inning strikeout with the bases loaded snapped the Yankees three-game winning streak and ruined a 12-strikeout performance by Yankees starter CC Sabathia.
Sabathia wasn't dominating over seven innings, but was good enough to win if Rodriquez didn't cost him two unearned runs with the error and— although he went toe-to-toe with David Price for 11 pitches in the fifth— suck the wind out of a potential big inning in the fifth by striking out.
The loss dropped the Yankees to third-place— 1/2 game behind both the Rays and Baltimore Orioles.
The power outage at the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the lineup has left a glaring hole in the Yankees lineup all season. Rodriguez and Cano are a combined 2-for-22 hitting with the bases loaded and 17-for-107 with runners in scoring position.
Still, Yankees manager Joe Girardi praised Rodriguez for fouling off five foul balls against Price (8-3), the flame-throwing leftie.
"Alex fouled off a bunch of tough pitches," said Girardi. "The guy was throwing 98 [mph]. He made pitch after pitch. That's what made it so tough."
Just what any team wants— a multi-million dollar clean-up batter who hits foul balls.