BOSTON (AP) - Alex Rodriguez got hit by a fastball from Boston starter Ryan Dempster in the second inning Sunday night, setting off an angry scene at Fenway Park and leading to the ejection of New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
A-Rod answered with his bat four innings later by hitting his 649th career home run, prompting even more boos and derisive chants.
The game between the longtime rivals quickly turned testy, with the benches and bullpens clearing in the second and the teams being warned about beanballs by plate umpire Brian O’Nora.
Dempster appeared to take aim at Rodriguez, recently suspended for 211 games by Major League Baseball in the Biogenesis drug case. Rodriguez appealed the penalty and can play until there is a final decision.
Booed when he was on deck at the end of the first inning, Rodriguez was jeered when he led off the second. Fans chanted “You’re a cheater!” as Dempster threw his first pitch behind Rodriguez’s knees.
Dempster missed inside with the next two pitches and then threw a fastball that hit A-Rod’s elbow pad and deflected into his back.
O’Nora immediately issued an emphatic warning to both benches, and a trainer escorted Rodriguez to first base. Rodriguez stared at Dempster, but made no move toward the mound.
Girardi, however, ran onto the field and began hollering at O’Nora. Presumably in disbelief that Dempster hadn’t been ejected, a livid Girardi wildly swung his fist _ and it came near O’Nora’s chin.
“He was trying to establish his fastball,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said during an in-game interview on ESPN. “Obviously, the pitch got away from him.
“We didn’t feel in our dugout it was anything intentional,” he added.
Dempster had hit four batters in 140 innings this season going into the game. He plunked two last year.
Tension already was high this weekend with the Red Sox leading the AL East and the Yankees scrambling for a playoff spot. This dustup at Fenway certainly looked familiar _ Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez threw down New York coach Don Zimmer during a wild brawl in the 2003 AL championship series, and Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek pushed Rodriguez in the face during a 2004 scuffle.
But this confrontation came with a decided twist: Along with the Red Sox, Rodriguez has been at odds with the Yankees, too.
Yankees management has been feuding with Rodriguez and his legal team, with the club still owing him more than $80 million through 2017.
“It’s hard to engage someone when this stuff is going on,” general manager Brian Cashman said hours before Sunday’s game, explaining why he and Rodriguez don’t talk much anymore.