Once again Alex Rodriguez was the center of attention last night but ended up having virtually nothing to do with the Yankees’ performance.

A game that started off with a sold-out Yankee Stadium crowd trying to figure out how to respond to the third baseman for the first time this year ended after a blown save by Mariano Rivera and a game-winning hit by Brett Gardner in a 4-3 10-inning win over Detroit.

In between Rodriguez was cheered booed and then replaced at third by Jayson Nix in the ninth.

Afterwards Rodriguez was nowhere to be found and let his teammates speak for him.

“Obviously you’re going to have people that boo” Gardner said. “I still don’t understand the people wearing a Yankees shirt pulling against one of their own guys. Everybody’s got a right to like somebody or not like somebody but still pull for the team at least right?”

At this point Rodriguez is practically an entity to himself.

The fans wrestled with their feelings toward the suspended third baseman.

Should they jeer the guy who is appealing a 211-game ban by Major League Baseball because of an alleged involvement in the Biogenesis scandal or root for the slugger they came to see?

He went hitless in four at-bats and didn’t have anything hit in his direction at third.

The crowd clearly had been curious to see what — if anything — the aging third baseman had left and Rodriguez gave them plenty of reason to knock him.

He struck out his first two times up before managing a fly ball to short right in the fifth. Rodriguez fanned again in the eighth ending his night and he was not seen on the field during the postgame celebration as the Yankees snapped a four-game skid to avoid falling to .500 for the first time since April 13.

A week ago while Rodriguez was still a one-man barnstormer visiting various towns up and down the eastern seaboard he sat in Trenton N.J. and admitted the obvious.

“There’s not a bigger compliment than being booed on the road and probably nothing worse than being booed at home” Rodriguez said at the time.