- Associated Press - Thursday, April 28, 2016

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Alex Rodriguez resembled his old self in his return to New York Yankees lineup.

After missing two games, Rodriguez hit his 690th career homer - his 100th in the stadium - as part of a 3-for-3 night with a walk in a 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers in the rubber game of a three-game series Wednesday night.

“It’s a long season and (I’m) a work in progress,” the 40-year-old A-Rod said. “I’m always tweaking and working on things and I’m just trying to find the cadence that I had last year. The last week or so has been a little better.”

The 40-year-old Rodriguez hadn’t played since he came out of Sunday’s home game because of stiffness in his left side after an earlier double snapped a 1-for-18 slide. His three hits Wednesday raised his average 45 points to .190.

“Maybe he’s getting on track and that’s a big bat to get on track,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He had good at-bats tonight and we need that to continue.”

Regardless, the Yankees (8-12) are now guaranteed of having their first losing April since 2008, Girardi’s first season in New York. They have only two games left to play this month.

“What doesn’t break us is going to make us stronger in the long run,” Rodrigeuz said. “Sometimes you need a little bit of a break, but I like the way we are working. I like our attitude. We’re playing hard and things will turn around.”

Elvis Andrus, the second All-Star shortstop for the Rangers since they traded Rodriguez to New York before spring training in 2004, had the tiebreaking RBI triple after Rougned Odor drew a two-out walk in the sixth off CC Sabathia (1-2).

Michael Young first replaced A-Rod at shortstop in Texas, and the 27-year-old Andrus is now in his eighth season - hitting .343 and without an error in the field since one in the opener.

Rangers lefty Martin Perez (1-2) struck out three while allowing two runs and six hits over six innings.

Rodriguez hit a changeup left over the middle of the plate over the 14-foot wall in left-center field for his third homer this season. That tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth, and he doubled two innings later.

“He hit a changeup for a homer and then we tried to come in on him and he hit it down the right field line, so not much you can do to him,” said catcher Bryan Holaday, who grew up in the Dallas area as a Rangers fan, and was catching for the Detroit Tigers last June when A-Rod has his 3,000th career hit against them.

A-Rod hit 86 homers at home for Texas from 2001-03 and has 14 more in 65 games as a visitor there - first with Seattle before his big deal with the Rangers, and after being traded to the Yankees.

With the 124 homers he hit in old Yankee Stadium (as a visitor and with the home team through 2008) and the 100 in Arlington, A-Rod is the only active player with at least 100 home runs in two different stadiums, according to STATS.

Rodriguez also has 100 homers in Seattle, home of his original MLB team, but 60 of those were in the Kingdome and 40 more at Safeco Field since. He has 71 homers at home since the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009.

“He’s a special player,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “Has been.”

SABATHIA SETTLING IN?

Sabathia allowed three runs and five hits over six innings. He struck out five and walked three. “I feel healthy and I can repeat my delivery,” the big left-hander said. “Hopefully I can keep that going all season, and just keep getting better.”

NOT 1-2-3-4

The Rangers tied the game when scoring on an unusual inning-ending 1-3-2-5 double play in the second. With runners at second and third, Hanser Alberto hit a comebacker. Sabathia fielded the ball, glanced at Ryan Rua coming off third base and then threw to first base for the out. Rua took off home, and scored ahead of the return throw to the plate. Catcher Brian McCann then threw to third. Odor slid in headfirst ahead of the ball, but was unable to keep hold of the bag and was tagged out by third baseman Chase Headley to end the inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: OF Aaron Hicks missed his fifth consecutive game because of left shoulder bursitis.

UP NEXT

Yankees: After their first off day in 10 days on Thursday, the Yankees open a three-game weekend series at Boston on Friday night.

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