Update, 1:26: The ball sounded and looked like a homer right off the bat, and now Alex Rodriguez is finally the youngest player to reach 600 homers. It was 2-0 pitch for a two-run homer to center in the first, and Toronto’s Shaun Marcum will be the answer to the trivia question of who gave it up. Ironically it comes three years to the day of his 500th homer. Maybe this will be the thing to get A-Rod going again. He had been 0 for 17 and 9 for 46 since the last one. By the way, a security guard retrieved the ball.
Update, 2:03: A-Rod was overdue and the Yankees were, too, after losing three straight and four of five. All good signs so far for them. Mark Teixeira’s double in the third makes it 3-0. And Phil Hughes has given up just one hit.
Update, 2:22: This fourth inning isn’t going so well for Hughes. He gave up that RBI double to Lyle Overbay, and that was on his 74th pitch already. Still, he’s only allowed one run and three hits with two in scoring position and two outs. And now Edwin Encarnacion has gone down swinging, so it’s 79 pitches in four innings.
Update, 2:52: So it’s 5-1 on Teixeira’s two-run single in the fifth. Now can A-Rod hit 601?
Update, 2:59: Pop to short. Here’s some snippets from an AP story on A-Rod that’s out now:
The Yankees’ slugger turned 35 last Tuesday, putting his home run pace far ahead of the rest. Ruth had been the youngest to hit 600, reaching the mark in 1931 at 36 years, 196 days. The Sultan of Swat did it in fewer games,
though, 2,044 to 2,227 for Rodriguez.
In response to a SportsIllustrated.com report and mounting speculation, A-Rod admitted to using steroids as he hit 156 homers with Texas. He has 255 with the Yankees and 189 with the Seattle Mariners, who picked him No. 1 in
1993 amateur draft. Rodriguez is among only three players, along with Reggie Jackson and Darrell
Evans, to hit 100 home runs for three different teams.
For one of the most scrutinized players in baseball, there was little fanfare in the run-up to No. 600 perhaps it’s Steroid Era fatigue or the fact that Rodriguez became the fourth player to reach the mark in the last
10 years after none in 31 years.
The pursuit of the home run record gets lucrative now. As part of his $275 million, 10-year deal signed after opting out of his contract during the 2007 World Series, Rodriguez can earn up to $30 million more for six
milestone homers. The first would be tying Willie Mays. He’d get $6 million more each time for matching Ruth, Aaron and Bonds and breaking the record.
Rodriguez hit No. 100 in August 1998 with Seattle, No. 200 in May 2001 and No. 300 in April 2003 with Texas. His 400th home run came on June 8, 2005, against Milwaukee during his second season with the Yankees.
Update, 3:07: Hughes is done after 5 1/3 and one run and four hits allowed. Boone Logan is on to pitch.
Update, 4:00: Mariano Rivera apparently needs some work, so he’s coming in for the ninth.
Update, 4:09: Yankees win, 5-1.