NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez walked back to the dugout in the second inning after looking at strike three on Friday to mild grumblings from the crowd. Three at-bats and six innings later -- a groundout to third that capped off an 0-for-4 evening -- those grumblings turned to full-on boos.
Yankees fans have always been quick to jump on Rodriguez, as high expectations come with high-paying contracts. But despite surpassing 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in each of his seven full seasons in pinstripes, the third baseman has never been able to shake the boo birds nor the notion that he fails to deliver in the clutch.
"He's been through it before. Alex understands," manager Joe Girardi said. "They just want him to be productive and get a base hit every time and to put up big numbers. And that's what he wants to do. A lot of times players are more critical of themselves than others, so I think they expect it sometimes."
Entering Saturday, A-Rod's average stood at .265, with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs. Since 1998, Rodriguez has fallen shy of the 30-home run mark just once -- last season, when he played in just 99 games.
Girardi: Granderson's strikeouts not a concern
NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson came to New York in 2010, fell in love with Yankee Stadium's short porch in right field, and has since established himself as one of baseball's better power hitters.
Granderson has always hit for power -- he averaged more than 23 home runs per year between 2006 and 2009, his four complete seasons with Detroit. But as the center fielder's power numbers have increased in New York, so have his strikeouts.
In 2011, Granderson struck out 169 times, the second-highest total of his career. In 2012, just one game removed from the All-Star break, he already has 101, including two on Friday night.
"I don't get too caught up in it because of the type of hitter he is," manager Joe Girardi said. "If he was a singles hitter striking out all the time, you might look at it a little bit differently."
Granderson is on pace to surpass 40 home runs -- he had 23 entering Saturday -- and Girardi said that he views the high strikeout rate as a trade-off for power and production.
"You try to understand what your player is, and you understand that everything's not going to be perfect," Girardi said.
"I look at an out as an out. You don't want guys to always strike out, but sometimes you hit into double plays where a strikeout might be more productive, in a sense. So I don't get too concerned about it."
Chris Stewart got the nod behind the plate on Saturday as in what was a day game after a night game. The decision to rest Russell Martin -- who had the game-winning hit on Friday in addition to throwing out three baserunners -- was made prior to Friday's 6-5, come-from-behind win over the Angels.
Over his last seven games entering Saturday, Mark Teixeira hit .370 (10-for-27) with four home runs, 15 RBIs and a .963 slugging percentage.
With their win over Los Angeles on Friday, the Yankees have now won their first game following the All-Star break in 10 of the last 11 seasons, the only exception coming in 2011.
Adam Rosenbloom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.