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Rodriguez makes return to field in 8-1 loss to White Sox

  • New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, right, talks during a news conference before the Yankees play the Chicago White Sox in a baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case, the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)

    New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, right, talks during a news conference before the Yankees play the Chicago White Sox in a baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case, the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)

  • New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, right, holds a news conference before the Yankees play the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case, the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)

    New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, right, holds a news conference before the Yankees play the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case, the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)

  • New York Yankees' Ale Rodriguez gets a hit in his first at bat against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning in a baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug., 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)

    New York Yankees' Ale Rodriguez gets a hit in his first at bat against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning in a baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug., 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)

  • New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, right, talks during a news conference before the Yankees play the Chicago White Sox in a baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case, the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)
  • New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, right, holds a news conference before the Yankees play the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case, the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)
  • New York Yankees' Ale Rodriguez gets a hit in his first at bat against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning in a baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug., 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney)

Alex Rodriguez stepped up to the plate greeted by a standing boo-vation and blooped a single in his first at-bat of the season.

Hours after Major League Baseball suspended the New York Yankees star through the 2014 season in the Biogenesis drug case, Chicago White Sox fans got their say last night.

And, boy, did they let him hear it.

They jeered him during pregame warmups and introductions, and they really tore into him when he walked to the batter’s box leading off the second inning.

On the third pitch, Rodriguez dunked a hit into shallow left field. He made it to third base with no outs, but was stranded.

Rodriguez flied out in his next two at-bats and then took a called third strike in the eighth inning while fans chanted “Steroids! Steroids!” He also handled a few grounders at third base as Chicago snapped a 10-game losing streak with an 8-1 win over the struggling Yankees.

That clearly was the biggest story on a day when New York’s Derek Jeter went back on the disabled list because of a strained right calf and Andy Pettitte (7-9) got knocked out early. Alex Rios drove in four runs, Alexei Ramirez added four hits and Jose Quintana (6-3) pitched into the seventh for the White Sox.

At 38 and coming back from hip surgery, Rodriguez said he’s fighting for his career.

He did not deny using performance-enhancing drugs in a news conference at U.S. Cellular Field after the punishment came down, and he said he will talk about whether he used PEDs at another time when he is more free to speak.

He did, however, dig in for a battle, saying no one else will defend him unless he stands up for himself. Then, he took to the field, batting fourth against the White Sox.

“There’s nothing about it that’s been easy,” Rodriguez said. “All of it has been challenging. I’m sure there’s been mistakes made along the way. We’re here now. I’m a human being. I’ve had two hip surgeries. I’ve had two knee surgeries. I’m fighting for my life. I have to defend myself. If I don’t defend myself, no one else will. There’s a process. I’m happy with the process. In due time, hopefully whatever happens, happens.”

The Yankees are hoping something good happens with him on the field. They’re out of playoff position and desperate for power, especially their third basemen – the players they’ve had playing that spot this season had a combined 32 RBIs, fewest in the majors according to STATS, and were hitting .215 with four homers.

Rodriguez, with 647 career home runs, arrived at the ballpark in a dark gray Cadillac around 3:10 p.m. CT and waved when a fan shouted “A-Rod!” on his way into the stadium.

In the clubhouse, his locker was jammed with the usual clothing and equipment, and there was a scouting report on his chair.

It all looked so ordinary, yet there was nothing ordinary about this day.

Tigers 4, Indians 2

Alex Avila’s three-run homer in the ninth inning off closer Chris Perez rallied the Detroit Tigers to their ninth straight win.

The Tigers were three outs away from having their lead in the AL Central cut to two games before their comeback against Perez (4-2), who had converted 11 consecutive save opportunities.

After Victor Martinez’s RBI single made it 2-1, Perez walked Andy Dirks before Avila drove a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left-center for his ninth homer, stunning a Cleveland crowd ready to celebrate the team’s biggest win this season.

Al Alburquerque (2-2) got one in the eighth and Joaquin Benoit worked the ninth for his 13th save.

Royals 13, Twins 0

Jeremy Guthrie pitched a four-hitter and Eric Hosmer drove in a career-high five runs to help the Kansas City Royals rout the Minnesota Twins.

The Royals, who have won 12 of their past 13 games, scored a season-high 13 runs.

Guthrie (12-7) won his fourth straight start to log his 12th victory, which is a career high. It was his second career shutout and he lowered his earned run average to 3.94. The right-hander retired the final 13 batters, did not allow a Twins runner to reach third base and only two touched second base. He struck out seven and walked one.

Kevin Correia (7-8) was pulled after two innings and 16 batters faced, allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks. It got so bad that infielder Jamey Carroll pitched the eighth for the Twins, his first career big league outing on the mound. He retired the Royals in order.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Dodgers 3, Cardinals 0

Zack Greinke pitched into the seventh inning and raised his batting average to .405 with an RBI single, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers win their 15th straight on the road.

Nick Punto was productive subbing for injured shortstop Hanley Ramirez and the Dodgers got an RBI apiece from Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis while matching the Cincinnati Reds’ 15-game run in 1957. They’re two wins shy of the NL record set by the 1916 New York Giants.

Greinke (9-3) allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings for his 100th career victory, allowing two hits in the third, fourth and fifth but no runs. Paco Rodriguez earned his second career save with a perfect ninth.

Adam Wainwright (13-7) gave up three runs in seven innings and failed in his third straight attempt at winning his 14th.

Braves 3, Nationals 2

Justin Upton led off the eighth inning with a tiebreaking homer, and the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves extended their winning streak to a season-high 11 games by beating the fading Washington Nationals.

Freddie Freeman drove in Atlanta’s first two runs with a pair of singles in the third and fifth. Reliever David Carpenter (3-0) earned the win by retiring all five batters he faced.

Upton’s 20th homer came on a 3-2 pitch from Tyler Clippard (6-2), who replaced Stephen Strasburg to begin the eighth.

The Nationals again failed to provide much run support for Strasburg, who struck out nine in seven innings, allowing two runs and five hits. The last five times he’s allowed two earned runs or fewer, Washington lost.

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