A-Rod gets RBI double in last game as Yankees beat Rays 6-3

NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez experienced at least some of the “magic” Joe Girardi had said he wished for him in his last game as a Yankee.

But not without a little bit of awkwardness sprinkled in.

It started with an almost apocalyptic thunderstorm that brought everything but frogs, dousing a pregame ceremony in A-Rod’s honor, then dissipating almost as quickly as it arrived.

Rodriguez promptly drove in a run with a line-drive double to right-center off Rays righthander Chris Archer in the first inning, tying the score. And for the first time this season, he got a chance to play third base, if only for one batter in the ninth inning.

But in the Yankees’ 6-3 victory before a sellout crowd of 46,459 Friday night at the Stadium, it was one of the players the 41-year-old Rodriguez has mentored this season, second baseman Starlin Castro, who did the most damage. He hit a two-out, two-run single in the fourth inning and a two-out, two-run homer in the sixth to give the Yankees, still very much alive in the AL wild-card race, a 5-3 lead.

A-Rod, feted with “A-Rod! A-Rod!” chants throughout, including during the Bleacher Creatures Roll Call, went 1-for-4. After his RBI double in the first, he grounded sharply to short in the fourth, struck out in the fifth and grounded to short in the seventh. He went out to play third in the ninth, taking the field to cheers, and then left with one out to hugs from his teammates and more cheers. Dellin Betances wound up striking out the side in the inning.

CC Sabathia allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, departing with a 5-3 lead. Archer allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings.

Girardi, who on Sunday had said he would “find a way” to play A-Rod as much as the DH wanted in Boston before backtracking Tuesday, was booed during pregame introductions.

Evan Longoria’s 26th home run, a two-out blast in the top of the first, gave the Rays a 1-0 lead, but the Yankees came right back in the bottom half.

Archer hit leadoff man Brett Gardner and fell behind Jacoby Ellsbury 3-and-1 before striking him out. Up stepped Rodriguez to more boisterous “A-Rod! A-Rod!” chants.

And with the count 2-and-2, Rodriguez laced a 96-mph fastball into the gap in right-center for an RBI double.

It was his first extra-base hit since July 18, when he homered, and first double since July 5.

Girardi had not been playing him much recently. A-Rod entered the night with only 12 plate appearances since July 29.