New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez grabs his cap as he walks out on to the field for a retirement ceremony in what is to be his final game in the MLB against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium in New York City on August 12, 2016. Alex Rodriguez will end his 22-year playing career with the fourth-most homers in Major League history at 697. Rodriguez will remain in the Yankees organization as an instructor. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez clapped his hands emphatically after getting an RBI double in the first inning.
Five innings later, he celebrated a big hit by Starlin Castro and when it ended, he walked off the field from third base to a standing ovation and embraces from teammates.
On a night designed to celebrate Rodriguez's time with the New York Yankees, the 41-year-old had plenty to enjoy during a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.
Before the game, Rodriguez was honored in a brief ceremony but there were some odd circumstances. The ceremony started with the tarp on the field and loud thunder was heard as it started and Rodriguez's family was introduced
The ceremony ended during a downpour but once Rodriguez's final game began, there was plenty of noise for the Yankees.
Rodriguez had an RBI double off Chris Archer (6-16) in his first at-bat and when he made it to second standing up, he applauded in excitement.
ARod celebrates on second base after he hits a RBI double in the first inning in what is to be his final game in the MLB. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Rodriguez grounded out and struck out in his next two at-bats, but enjoyed Castro's four RBIs, especially the second baseman 13th home run with two outs in the sixth. His final at-bat was a groundout to shortstop in the seventh inning.
As Castro drove a full-count offering from Archer over the left-center field fence, Rodriguez lifted both arms in triumph, applauded loudly and was the first one to greet him in the dugout.
The home run gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead and came after Mark Teixeira singled and stole second.
The real excitement came with two outs and Castro batting in the eighth. Chants of "We Want A-Rod" went through all levels of the seats in reference to him possibly playing the field.
The fans' desires were met when Rodriguez sprinted to third base to thunderous applause and began warming up. After Dellin Betances recorded the first out, he was replaced by Ronald Torreyes and embraced all his teammates before waving to the crowd.
Aaron Hicks also homered for the Yankees (59-56), who have won three straight and five of seven.
CC Sabathia (7-9) allowed three runs and four hits in six innings. Tyler Clippard and Adam Warren pitched a scoreless inning apiece. Betances recorded his fourth save.
Evan Longoria drove in two of Tampa Bay's three runs with a solo home run and a run-scoring single.
Archer allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings.
The Rays took a 1-0 lead when Longoria drove an 0-1 pitch into the left field seats for his 26th home run of the season.
Rodriguez tied the score with a double to the warning track in right-center field, collecting his 2,086th RBI.
Tampa Bay had first and third with two outs in the third and took a 2-1 lead when Longoria singled to right.
New York regained the lead with two outs in the fourth. After Rodriguez opened the inning with a groundout, Castro bounced a single into left field for a 3-2 lead.
Tampa Bay tied it in the fifth on Logan Forsythe's sacrifice fly to right field. The run scored as Aaron Hicks throw sailed well over catcher Brian McCann's head.
NOTES: Alex Rodriguez participated in a nearly 11-minute press conference before Friday's game and among the highlights were his closing comments. "With all my screw-ups and how badly I acted, the fact that I'm walking out the door and Hal (Steinbrenner) wants me as part of the family, that's hitting 800 home runs." ... In the last five years, other notable players to appear in their final game against Tampa Bay were C Jorge Posada (Yankees, 2011), DH Jim Thome (Baltimore, 2012), RHP Mariano Rivera (Yankees, 2013) and DH Jason Giambi (2014, Cleveland). ... The only Rays in pro ball when Rodriguez joined the Yankees in 2004 are RHP Kevin Jepsen and C Bobby Wilson. ... The Yankees placed RHP Nathan Eovaldi (right elbow tendon) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled RHP Luis Severino from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. ... Rays OF Kevin Kiermaier (flu-like symptoms) did not start.