Rodriguez hits go-ahead HR in 7th, Yankees beat Mariners
NEW YORK (AP) A little rest went a long way for Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez returned from the All-Star break with a boom, hitting a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning as the New York Yankees overcame two homers by Kyle Seager to beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 Friday night.
Left off the AL All-Star team, A-Rod hit his 19th homer of the season and 673rd of his career. He connected 10 days before his 40th birthday.
''I'm rested, I'm healthy,'' he said.
Rodriguez appeared on the ESPYs awards show in Los Angeles during the four-day layoff, and quickly got back into the swing.
''Alex has that ability,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ''Gets the second half started out the right away.''
Rodriguez lined a solo drive into the Yankees' bullpen in right-center field. The one-out shot came against Joe Beimel (0-1). Earlier in the game, Rodriguez singled for his 3,021st hit, moving past Rafael Palmeiro for 25th place on the all-time list.
''He held up great the first half,'' Girardi said. ''I expect him to hold up well the second half.''
Beimel said he threw a sinker that didn't sink.
''Bad pitch on a guy that has over 650 home runs,'' he said. ''I knew as soon as he hit it. I'm surprised it didn't go farther than it actually did because it was pretty loud off the bat.''
Chris Young homered and doubled in helping the AL East leaders beat the Mariners for the seventh straight time, with the previous six wins at Safeco Field. Seattle had won five in a row at Yankee Stadium, dating to 2013.
Overall, the road team had won 11 straight in the Mariners-Yankees series.
Masahiro Tanaka (6-3) beat the Mariners for the second time this season, striking out seven in seven innings.
All-Star Dellin Betances struck out Seager in a perfect eighth, and Andrew Miller closed for his 19th save in as many chances.
Seager twice tagged Tanaka, driving in all three Seattle runs with the sixth multihomer game of his career.
Tanaka fared much better against star slugger Nelson Cruz, retiring him all three times, twice on strikeouts. Cruz is 0 for 12 lifetime vs. the Japanese right-hander, fanning six times.
Young hit a solo homer off rookie Mike Montgomery in the second, and doubled and scored in the fourth. In both at-bats, Young seemed surprised that 3-1 pitches were called strikes before delivering.
Montgomery struck out nine in six innings.
Rodriguez singled in the fifth and scored on Brian McCann's single, making it 3-all.
After his team went 41-48 in the first half, manager Lloyd McClendon led the Mariners in a full-squad workout at Yankee Stadium five hours before the game. He said the practice and a follow-up meeting were designed to get the kinks out and focus the players.
''We haven't played any baseball that amounted to much of anything,'' McClendon said before the game, adding, ''I expect to see a different club tonight.''
Mariners: LHP J.A. Happ is set to return from the Class A Bakersfield roster and start Monday night in Detroit. He was technically sent to the minors last week because he wasn't scheduled to pitch before the All-Star break, allowing Seattle to add an extra bat.
Yankees: OF Carlos Beltran (left oblique) could come off the disabled list Saturday, though Girardi said it'd be hard to immediately put him in the lineup. Beltran played seven innings in right field for Class A Tampa in his third rehab game and went 0 for 2 with a walk.
Yankees 2B Rob Refsnyder was back in the starting lineup and went 0 for 2, along with reaching on a catcher's interference call. In the last game before the All-Star break, he got his first big league hit and later added his first home run. Stephen Drew has gotten most of the starts at 2B this year, with a few others getting a look. Girardi says he now wants to see what Refsnyder can do. ''I don't think of it as a two-week trial'' leading into the trading deadline, Girardi said.
Yankees RHP Michael Pineda (9-5, 3.64) starts Saturday vs. his former team. In his first game against the Mariners, he took a shutout into the seventh inning and won at Seattle on June 1. Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1, 5.22) makes his third start since being sidelined by a strain on his right side. He won with eight shutout innings vs. the Angels last week.