Matthew Pouliot

Yankees' Rodriguez celebrates his solo home run against Red Sox's Dempster in the sixth inning of their MLB American League Baseball game in Boston

Yankees outlast Red Sox to claim series in Fenway

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This one had a little bit of everything packed into a crisp four hours and 12 minutes.

– After Boston grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Ryan Dempster drilled Alex Rodriguez with a 3-0 pitch to open the second. It was at least Dempster’s second attempt to hit him, but the plunking didn’t get Dempster ejected. It did result in warnings for both sides and an early exit for a furious Joe Girardi.

– The Yankees rallied to tie the game after the HBP and then took the lead in the third on an RBI groundout from A-Rod. That lead lasted about 10 minutes, as David Ortiz delivered an RBI groundout of his own in the bottom of the third.

– In the fourth, the Red Sox executed some perfect small-ball after a Jarrod Saltalamacchia leadoff double. Daniel Nava advanced him with a bunt, and Stephen Drew plated him with a fly to left. All of which was rendered pretty moot when Will Middlebrooks followed with an opposite-field homer, making it 5-3.

– In the fifth, with everyone still wondering when CC Sabathia might retaliate for the earlier incident, he blew his last good chance by giving up a double to David Ortiz with Dustin Pedroia on first. He later intentionally walked Saltalamacchia after a 3-0 count. With the bases loaded, he walked Daniel Nava, scoring the sixth Boston run.

– The Red Sox, not satisfied with five unhorrible innings for Dempster, pressed their luck. Which is something that tends to happen when a team has only three reliable relievers, all of whom pitched the day before. Dempster gave up a leadoff homer to A-Rod and still the Red Sox stayed with him. He was finally pulled with the bases loaded, and rookie Drake Britton surrendered a triple to Brett Gardner. 7-6 Yankees.

– The Yankees, too, kept their starter in for some ungodly reason, yet it didn’t bite them. Sabathia walked Middlebrooks to start the bottom of the sixth, but he bounced back with a strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury before being removed. Shawn Kelley came in and got two right-handers to end the inning.

– That was it for most of the excitement in what turned out to be a 9-6 Yankees win. We did see three HBPs after the warnings were issued, none of which resulted in ejections. We saw umpire Brian O’Nora get hit in the throat by a fastball that Chris Stewart flat-out missed, stumble around for a couple of minutes and then stay in the game. We saw the Red Sox get two men on in the bottom of the ninth against Mariano Rivera, who was riding a streak of three straight blown saves, only to have the game end on a lineout to left from Salty.

The story here will be A-Rod, A-Rod, A-Rod. Yet this came down to a battle of the bullpens, and the Yankees won it. Absent Andrew Bailey, Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Miller and Matt Thornton (and Daniel Bard, too, if you’d like), the Red Sox are short of guys they can trust, and manager John Farrell decided to use all three of his those guys (Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow) to protect a five-run lead on Saturday. The Yankees had all of their guys available, and their four relievers combined to allowed two hits in 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Boston’s five relievers allowed two runs, three inherited runs and eight hits in those same 3 2/3 innings.

As for Rodriguez, it was definitely his best game since his return; he collected three hits for the first time and hit his second homer. The Yankees are 7-5 with him in the lineup. Sabathia improved to 11-10 despite giving up six runs and walking five. Dempster fell to 6-9, though the Red Sox had won each of his last six starts (Dempster went 1-0 with five no-decisions in the span).

Report: Alex Rodriguez paid for Tony Bosch’s lawyer

Alex Rodriguez
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A spokesperson for Tony Bosch’s attorney, Susy Ribero-Ayala, told ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Sunday that Alex Rodriguez paid her a $25,000 retainer in February in the wake of the Biogenesis scandal and later transferred an additional $50,000 that was immediately returned to Rodriguez.

Outside the Lines reviewed the documents for the second transfer. Ribero-Ayala said through her spokesperson that the money was “unsolicited and unwarranted” and was returned. A lawyer for Rodriguez’s former law firm, said that the $50,000 had been sent in an error and asked for it to be returned.

Of course, all of this suggests that Rodriguez was trying to enlist Bosch’s aid in the Biogenesis investigation before MLB earned Bosch’s cooperation. And it’s that involvement in trying to muck up the investigation that MLB has and will use to justify its 211-game suspension of Rodriguez.

Which all seems pretty specious. Of course Rodriguez deserves a steroids suspension, just like everyone else nailed by MLB. But the idea that him attempting to cover up his cheating being worse than the cheating itself is ludicrous, and it’s going to be a tough argument for MLB to make given that Melky Cabrera drew no extra punishment for his attempted coverup in 2012.

Milestone man Alfonso Soriano homers twice, knocks in six

Alfonso Soriano
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A day after homering to collect his 2,000th career hit, Alfonso Soriano homered twice and drove in six runs in the Yankees’ 14-7 win over the Angels on Tuesday, giving him 1,100 career RBI.

Soriano got to 1,100 RBI just six days after reaching 1,100 runs scored. Next up on the list for him is 400 homers; the two tonight leave him just six away.

It’s doubtful that Soriano will ever get into Cooperstown without a ticket, but he has filled up the stat sheet in his 15 major league seasons. Here are all the players with more homers and steals than his 394 and 281, respectively:

Barry Bonds: 764 HR, 514 SB
Willie Mays: 660 HR, 338 SB
Alex Rodriguez: 648 HR, 318 SB
Andre Dawson: 438 HR, 314 SB

Maybe that’s overselling it a bit. But Soriano is one of 22 players in major league history with both 250 homers and 250 steals. He’s one of 15 with 250 homers, 250 steals, 1,100 runs scored and 1,100 RBI. If he gets the 19 steals he needs for 300 — something that seems more likely now that he’s managed 11 this year — he’ll be one of seven players with 300 HR, 300 SB and 2,000 hits, joining Mays, Bonds, A-Rod, Dawson, Steve Finley and Carlos Beltran.