MIAMI — When Alex Rodriguez emerged from the dugout to pinch-hit with two out in the ninth inning June 15, the resulting roar from his hometown fans gave Miami Marlins closer A.J. Ramos a boost of adrenaline.
“That was the loudest I’ve heard in this stadium,” Ramos said. “I kind of took it in. You’ve got to take those moments in. I was like, ‘Man, this is really cool.’”
The conflicted crowd was cheering again moments later, this time for the home team. Ramos got Rodriguez to fly out, and the Marlins beat the New York Yankees 2-1.
Rodriguez, who batted for Stephen Drew with a runner at first, said the last time he received such a rousing ovation as a visiting player might have been in high school. He lofted a 1-1 slider to right field and remained five hits shy of 3,000.
“It was an incredible moment,” Rodriguez said, “an absolute awesome situation to be in. Fun. Exciting. I had a good pitch to hit and just popped it straight up.”
Playing in his hometown for the first time since 2009, Rodriguez didn’t start because there was no DH for the interleague game. But Manager Joe Girardi gave him a chance to be a ninth-inning hero.
“It would have been a nice little story,” Girardi said. “Didn’t happen, though.” Rodriguez is not expected to start in the Yankees’ final game in Miami on June 16 either.
Tom Koehler pitched seven innings for Miami and was helped by acrobatic defense. Derek Dietrich, recalled from the minors last week, hit his first home run of the season in the seventh to put Miami ahead against Masahiro Tanaka.
The crowd of 33,961 — Miami’s largest since opening day — included a busload of Rodriguez’s family and friends, as he described it. Fans seemed evenly divided in their support of the Marlins and the Yankees.
Mark Teixeira hit his 18th homer for the Yankees in the second inning. That was the only run allowed by Koehler (5-4), who limited the AL East leaders to three hits thanks to his teammates.
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria had two leaping catches of line drives to rob Chase Headley of hits, and second baseman Dee Gordon also contributed two nifty stops.
“Hech made two great plays, and Dee didn’t want to be outdone,” Koehler said.
The Yankees tied a season low with three hits. “Really good defensive plays on their part,” Girardi said. “I though we actually swung the bats pretty good, and really didn’t have much to show for it.”
Tanaka (4-2) allowed nine hits and two runs in seven innings.
The Marlins’ Ichiro Suzuki had two hits against former teammate Tanaka in an all-Japanese matchup. The game was televised in Japan.
Miami’s Carter Capps struck out the side in the eighth and topped out at 100 mph. Ramos pitched around a lead-off walk in the ninth for his ninth save in 12 chances.
“It’s probably the coolest save I’ve gotten so far,” Ramos said. “Hopefully I get cooler ones, but as of right now this is probably the best one.”
Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the majors in homers and RBIs, went 1-for-3. Stanton, who suffered a season-ending beaning last September, was hit in the lower back by Jose Ramirez in the eighth inning but stayed in the game.
(STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer)