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N.Y. Yankees «21004000310130
Minnesota000000100151

A-Rod hits sixth homer in seventh game as Yankees dominate

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- As a horde of reporters gathered around Alex Rodriguez, Mike Mussina barked playfully at the star third baseman from the peanut gallery.

"C'mon! Six homers in seven games? He's supposed to do that," Mussina said. "Just ask you guys."

Teammate Derek Jeter also teased A-Rod during the New York Yankees' 10-1 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday night.

It might have taken more than three years, but there are signs that Rodriguez is finally fitting in with the Yankees.

Rodriguez homered in his fourth straight game to back a solid performance by Andy Pettitte, then laughed and joked playfully with several teammates after the game.

"Alex has been swinging the bat as well as I've ever seen him," Jeter said. "I asked him if there was anything wrong with him when he flew out."

Rodriguez, who struggled to ingratiate himself in the Yankees' clubhouse and with their demanding fans during his first three seasons in New York, hit his major league-leading sixth homer in the first inning.

Johnny Damon added a three-run shot off Boof Bonser (0-1) in a four-run fifth, and Pettitte (1-0) gave up four hits in six shutout innings for his 150th victory with the Yankees, and his first since 2003.

The Twins have scored a total of six runs in their last four games, though two of those were played in frigid conditions during a weekend series at the Chicago White Sox.

Rodriguez has been making hitting look easy this season.

"He just looks very comfortable," manager Joe Torre said before the game. "He's not up there overplaying his hand. He's up there daring people to get him out."

In the first inning, A-Rod reached down low in the zone and effortlessly lofted a 3-2 changeup into the left-field stands to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

"I'm seeing the ball pretty well," he said. "Hopefully, things continue."

Rodriguez became the ninth major leaguer, and first Yankee, to hit six homers in his first seven games of the season. Philadelphia's Mike Schmidt, who hit seven homers in the first seven games of the 1976 season, is the only player to hit more in that span.

"I love Mike," Rodriguez said. "He's one of my favorite players of all time. It's always an honor."

Skeptics will point out that all this production is coming during the regular season. But the two-time AL MVP went 1-for-14 in the playoffs last year, when he was dropped to eighth in the batting order for the final game, and is 4-for-41 (.098) without an RBI in his last 12 playoff games dating to 2004.

During his first tour with the Yankees, Pettitte became synonymous with postseason success. He helped them to four World Series titles and six AL pennants, and his 14 postseason victories are second only to Atlanta's John Smoltz (15).

The Yankees gave Pettitte a $16 million, one-year contract with a $16 million player option in hopes that he can shore up a shaky rotation.

"All is well ... tonight," Pettitte quipped.

Pettitte allowed more than one runner only once, and got Michael Cuddyer to bounce into a double play and MVP Justin Morneau to ground out to first to get out of the fourth.

It was a familiar sight for manager Ron Gardenhire, whose Twins haven't been able to get the bats going since scoring 17 runs in a three-game sweep of Baltimore to open the season.

Now he can add starting pitching to his list of concerns.

"Obviously, you don't want to give up home runs, but Boof's fine," Gardenhire said during a sometimes-testy postgame interview. "Boof just got a couple balls up tonight and they hit them out."

After Twins starters looked sharp in the first four games of the season, Sidney Ponson was pounded in an 8-2 loss to New York on Monday night, and Bonser was knocked around on Tuesday. Bonser gave up seven runs -- six earned -- and six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

"I don't know what happened there. I went out for the fifth and it seemed like the wheels came off," Bonser said. "I threw good pitches and they just hit them."

Notes

  • The Twins' Nick Punto snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the fourth.
  • Jeter was 2-for-5 and moved into a tie with Joe DiMaggio in seventh place on the Yankees' career list with 6,821 at-bats. He also stole his 250th career base in the fifth.
  • Scott Proctor allowed an RBI single to Jason Kubel in the seventh for the Twins' only run.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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A-Rod leaps into Mike Schmidt territory with his sixth home run in just his seventh game.  (AP)
A-Rod leaps into Mike Schmidt territory with his sixth home run in just his seventh game. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

A. Rodriguez
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
New York

A. Pettitte
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 1
K 3
 
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, CF5213012 .429
Derek Jeter, SS5320010 .355
Bobby Abreu, RF5111002 .321
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3112210 .357
Jason Giambi, DH3011100 .192
    Kevin Thompson, PR-DH-CF10120001.000
Jorge Posada, C5010013 .333
Robinson Cano, 2B5120034 .313
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B3100104 .188
Melky Cabrera, LF4131000 .200
Totals3910131047  
Batting
2B - Kevin Thompson (1, Reyes), Robinson Cano (2, Bonser)
HR - Johnny Damon (1, Bonser), Alex Rodriguez (6, Bonser)
RBI - Johnny Damon 3 (3), Bobby Abreu (7), Alex Rodriguez 2 (15), Jason Giambi (7), Kevin Thompson 2 (2), Melky Cabrera (2)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Rodriguez 2 (13), Melky Cabrera (1)
SB - Derek Jeter (1, 2nd base off Bonser/Mauer)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Cano-Jeter-Mientkiewicz
New York Yankees
Andy Pettitte (W,1-0) 6400130 1.64
Scott Proctor 0.2111200 6.23
Luis Vizcaino 1.1000010 1.93
Mariano Rivera 1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Andy Pettitte 96-60, Scott Proctor 17-6, Luis Vizcaino 19-12, Mariano Rivera 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andy Pettitte 12-2, Mariano Rivera 1-2
Batters Faced - Andy Pettitte 22, Scott Proctor 5, Luis Vizcaino 4, Mariano Rivera 3
Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B4000012 .310
Nick Punto, 3B4010010 .148
Joe Mauer, C3010100 .346
    Chris Heintz, C0000000 .000
Michael Cuddyer, RF4010002 .360
Justin Morneau, 1B3100102 .250
Torii Hunter, CF2000111 .208
   a- Jason Tyner, PH1000000 .182
Josh Rabe, LF3000013 .000
   b- Luis Rodriguez, PH1000000 .000
Mike Redmond, DH3010002 .111
Jason Bartlett, SS2000001 .050
   c- Jason Kubel, PH1011000 .273
    Alexi Casilla, PR-SS0000000 .000
Totals3115134  
a-grounded out for Hunter in the 9th
b-flied out for Rabe in the 9th
c-singled for Bartlett in the 7th
Batting
2B - Michael Cuddyer (3, Pettitte)
RBI - Jason Kubel (3)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Kubel (1)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Castillo-Bartlett-Morneau, Morneau-Bartlett-Crain
E - Jason Bartlett (4, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Boof Bonser (L,0-1) 4.1676212 6.97
Jesse Crain 1.2200000 2.45
Pat Neshek 1000020 0.00
Juan Rincon 1100120 0.00
Dennys Reyes 1433120 15.00
IBB - Rodriguez by Boof Bonser
Pitches-Strikes - Boof Bonser 75-41, Jesse Crain 14-10, Pat Neshek 12-9, Juan Rincon 22-13, Dennys Reyes 29-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Boof Bonser 7-6, Jesse Crain 3-0, Juan Rincon 1-0, Dennys Reyes 1-0
Batters Faced - Boof Bonser 22, Jesse Crain 5, Pat Neshek 3, Juan Rincon 5, Dennys Reyes 8
Game Information
Attendance - 24552
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Tony Randazzo, First Base - Charlie Reliford, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Greg Gibson