The next time Sam Dyson sets foot in the Bronx he might want to wear a mask or bring a security guard with him.
The Marlins’ reliever was all that stood between Alex Rodriguez, Miami's most infamous baseball son, and history in the eighth inning Thursday night. But he didn’t give A-Rod much to swing at.
Dyson fired four inside fastballs that registered at 97, 96, 98 and 97 mph and never came close to the strike zone, leaving A-Rod one hit shy of 3,000 and 38,239 fans at Yankee Stadium stinking mad.
“If he was going to beat me, he was going to have to get the head [of the bat] out,” said Dyson, who was booed and jeered relentlessly by the crowd as he struggled to get just one out the rest of the inning. “I was trying to beat him with my best stuff. If it didn’t happen, ‘Oh well.’”
It didn’t happen and neither did a late comeback for the Marlins, who blew a 3-1 lead in the sixth and dropped a 9-4 decision and the final two games of a four-game, two city series against the Bombers.
The Marlins (29-39), who took the first two games at Marlins Park, open a three-game series Friday in Cincinnati.
The Yankees (36-30) tied the score with a two-out, two-run home run by Brett Gardner in the sixth, and then took the lead on Carlos Beltran’s two-run blast to left off Mike Dunn in the seventh.
“It was one two-seamer that didn't move,” said Mat Latos, who gave up the blast to Gardner on his 108th and final pitch of the night.
“All game I had a pretty good feel for my two-seamer. I had some good movement on it. Just one that didn't move.”
Latos hardly resembled the pitcher who held the Rockies to one run on four hits over seven innings and struckout 11 in his first start since coming off the disabled list last Saturday.
He needed 69 pitches to get through the first three innings before he finally retired the Yankees in order in the fourth. Then in the fifth, after Rodriguez singled and Mark Teixeira doubled to right to put runners on second and third with one out, Latos danced his way out of trouble again by striking out Brian McCann and getting Beltran to pop out to third base.
But Gardner got him eventually.
“When he got the two quick outs and then he gave up the double to the No. 9 hole hitter, thought we'd let him get through that inning,” manager Dan Jennings said. “Gardner had been shooting the ball to left field and we honestly felt it may be in the gap. But it ended up getting out.”
Giancarlo Stanton launched his 25th home run of the season in the sixth inning off CC Sabathia, making him the fastest Marlins player ever to reach 25 homers after only 68 games. Gary Sheffield and Mike Lowell shared the previous mark at 82 games.
But like too many of Stanton’s home runs this season — 16 to be exact — it came with nobody on base.
Stanton's home run was one of the hardest he's hit this season. According to MLB's Statcast tracking system, it left his bat at 115 mph and traveled 420 feet. Yankee Stadium is now the 23rd different ballpark that Stanton has homered in. He's hit 13 homers in his last 23 games and leads the majors in homers and RBI.
Afterward, though, Stanton took little solace in any of that.
“Got to keep going,” Stanton said. “The season still going not that well. We've got to keep going.”
Rodriguez came into Thursday's game sitting on 2,997 hits and quickly picked up No. 2,998 with an RBI single to center. He then singled to left off Latos in the fifth. Dunn got Rodriguez to line out to left in the sixth.
“The crowd's been amazing all year,” Rodriguez said of the way the crowd reacted to him in the eighth. “That was phenomenal. It was a great night, a great win. I felt great. The fans were phenomenal.”