All that, and still a win for the New York Yankees.
Rodriguez heard a mixture of cheers and boos in his return home and the Yankees overcame Miguel Cabrera's crushing home run off Rivera, beating Detroit 4-3 in 10 innings Friday night and snapping the Tigers' 12-game winning streak.
"Well, I hope it jump-starts it a lot," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We need to win series. We need to win a lot of games moving forward."
Cabrera temporarily saved the Tigers by hitting a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth off Rivera that made it 3-all. Cabrera connected while still hobbling after fouling two balls off his left shin earlier in the at-bat.
The reigning Triple Crown winner vs. the all-time saves leader made for great baseball theater, not that it was a setting Cabrera enjoyed.
"No, we want to have the lead in the ninth. You don't want to face Mariano," he said.
Cabrera's shin was bandaged after the game and he limped through the locker room. Banged up lately, Cabrera said he hoped to play Saturday.
Brett Gardner grounded an RBI single with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th to end New York's four-game losing streak.
The AL Central-leading Tigers were trying for their best string since 1934, when they tied the team record of 14 straight wins. That run ended across the street at the old Yankee Stadium when Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig each drove in runs to down Detroit.
Austin Jackson got three doubles and four hits overall for Detroit. His one-out double began Detroit's comeback in the ninth.
With some scattered fans wearing No. 13 jerseys, Rodriguez finished 0 for 4 in his first game at Yankee Stadium since last October. The sellout crowd of 46,545 let him have it the whole night, from the moment the lineups were announced to the time he looked at a slider for his third strikeout of the game.
Rodriguez left the ballpark without talking to the media.
"Alex has had to deal with stuff before. He's been booed before. He knows what he has to do and I expect him to do it," Girardi said.
"It's something he has to be able to put out of his mind and just be a player for us," he said.
A-Rod made his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox, hours after Major League Baseball handed him a 211-game drug suspension. The three-time AL MVP can play until there is a decision on his appeal, likely after the season.
Jayson Nix replaced Rodriguez in the top of the ninth. Nix walked to start the 10th and scored the winning run.
Cabrera delivered a most dramatic hit an inning earlier.
After a foul ball left him hopping, Cabrera got a checkup from manager Jim Leyland. Fact is, Cabrera almost didn't make it that far -- moments before that, first baseman Lyle Overbay reached over a railing and barely missed catching Cabrera's foul pop that would've ended the game.
But Cabrera regrouped and lined a 2-2 pitch well over the wall in dead center field, slowly making his way around the bases and silencing the crowd. He drove in Detroit's first three runs, and now has 34 homers and 108 RBIs.
For Rivera, it was his second straight failure -- the first time that happened since April 2011. Rivera has blown four in 39 chances this year, including a ninth-inning miss Wednesday night in Chicago.
"Cabrera put a tough at-bat on him. Fouled a bunch of pitches off. Fouled it off his knee. Fouled it off his foot. He did a good job of getting two strikes. He just couldn't put him away," Girardi said.
Gardner finished with three hits, and was glad to pick up Rivera.
"I said it two or three days ago in Chicago, and I'll say it again tonight: He probably won't do it again the rest of the season," Gardner said. "He'll probably reel off 15 or 20 straight from here to the end of September."
Nova cruised until Jackson led off the seventh with a double. Torii Hunter was then called out on strikes and objected to the call by Triple-A fill-in umpire Will Little.
After Cabrera followed with an RBI single, Little ejected Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer for hollering from the dugout.
There was a 47-minute rain delay at the start. ... Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez (9-7, 2.58) starts Saturday against RHP Phil Hughes (4-10, 4.87). ... The Yankees wore their batting practice hats with the white bills. They did it to honor their partnership with the David C. Koch Foundation, New Era caps and the fight against cancer.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.