Alex Rodriguez said he thinks more about his 600th home run when he’s in New York. It’s hard to avoid it when the Yankee Stadium scoreboard announces the chase every time he moves one home run closer.
“Walking the streets of New York a lot of people are cheering me on,” Rodriguez said. “And every day it’s kind of embarrassing, you look up and they’re replaying the last three or four. It feels good.”
It felt good tonight when Rodriguez went deep twice, including the 21st grand slam of his career. He’s tied with Manny Ramirez for the second most grand slams all time, two away from Lou Gehrig’s record. For the season, Rodriguez is 7-for-13 with 24 RBI with the bases loaded.
He now has 14 home runs this season, and he has 23 RBI in his past 14 games. This seems to have been the kind of thing Joe Girardi had in mind when he named Rodriguez an all-star.
“He’s had some big home runs for us too, home runs that have put us out in front,” Girardi said. “It’s wonderful to see. We know how dangerous of a hitter he is, and even without the home runs, he was still driving in runs.”
• Speaking of Girardi’s all-star picks, CC Sabathia has won seven straight starts. It’s the second time in his career that he’s won seven straight, and the first such streak since 2005. It’s the first time a Yankees starter has won seven in a row since Roger Clemens won eight straight in 2001. “CC’s been an ace for a long time,” Girardi said. “Whether it’s been in this league or the National League, he’s been very, very good. He’s on a string right now, and he’s pitching great.”
• Sabathia’s biggest pitch of the game was the 3-2 fastball to Daric Barton, who took the pitch on the outer half for a called strike three. Barton slammed his bat and was ejected for the first time in his career. “I thought it was a good pitch,” Sabathia said. “Obviously he disagreed, but I thought it was a pretty good pitch.”
• Can’t ignore the defense tonight. Two nice plays in foul territory by Mark Teixeira, and one great stop by Rodriguez to start a double play.
• Jorge Posada said he felt good in his return behind the plate. He wore some extra protection in his glove. “Got a foul ball late in the game and it held up,” he said.
• Derek Jeter ended a 19-game streak without an RBI. It was the longest such streak of his career.
• Nice work by Dave Robertson tonight: 1.1 innings, 2 strikeouts, 16 pitches, 11 strikes.
• Rodriguez laughed when he was asked about his relationship with Dallas Braden, who sent a signed poster and a signed “Get Off My Mound” t-shirt to Rodriguez before the game. The poster had a personal message, and it was all intended as a goodwill, let’s-be-friends offering. Rodriguez said there’s no hard feelings between the two.
• Rodriguez signed 10 of the Get Off My Mound t-shirts, with the idea that Braden will sign them as well to be auctioned for charity.
Associated Press photos of Rodriguez and Sabathia