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Kansas City at New York

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Kansas City (48-61)0020401018130
N.Y. Yankees (60-50) «40111450x16211

A-Rod becomes youngest ever to 500 HRs as Yankees crush Royals

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez leaned to his right and watched the ball as it sailed toward the foul pole in left. When it stayed true, he raised his hands in the air -- the long wait for No. 500 was finally over.

Rodriguez became the youngest player in major league history to hit 500 home runs, connecting on the first pitch he saw Saturday to end a 10-day wait.

"I acted like a goofball running around the bases, but you only hit 500 once," he said after the New York Yankees beat Kansas City 16-8.

The 32-year-old Rodriguez stood at home plate for a second after his first-inning drive off Kyle Davies, waiting to see where it would land.

"I haven't hit one in so long I didn't know if it was going to be foul," he said. "Where that ball started, last week that ball would've hooked foul probably about 20 feet."

After more than a week of watching his teammates hit a lot of home runs, it was A-Rod's turn. He started trotting around the bases with a wide grin on his face as the sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium cheered wildly. He finished with three hits, along with a hug from Derek Jeter.

"I've conceded the fact that you can't will yourself to hit a home run. I tried hard for about five days," Rodriguez said.

A-Rod spoke with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and commissioner Bud Selig after the game. Selig was in San Diego and watched Barry Bonds tie Hank Aaron's career home run record with a second-inning shot off Padres starter Clay Hensley.

Rodriguez homered eight days after his birthday and surpassed Jimmie Foxx (32 years, 338 days) as the youngest player to reach 500. A-Rod is the 22nd player to reach the mark, the second this season behind Frank Thomas -- Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome might get there this year, too.

It may not take very long for Rodriguez to rise to the top of the list, either. Bonds was two away from breaking Aaron's record of 755 heading into San Francisco's game Saturday night.

Fan Poll

How many home runs will Alex Rodriguez hit during his career?

600 to 649
2%
650 to 699
6%
700 to 749
8%
750 to 799
36%
800 or more
46%
Less than 600
2%

Total Votes: 7,300

Rodriguez leads the majors with 36 home runs this season, one more than he hit last year.

"His prime years are ahead of him, basically," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "This is a stop-off for him. It's not a destination."

Rodriguez hugged Jeter and Bobby Abreu, who both scored on the landmark home run, and blew a kiss toward the stands after completing his trip around the bases. His teammates were already on the field and he embraced several of them on his way back to the bench.

"It was awesome and then you kind of get that high school reception when you hit a home run and all of the guys are out of the dugout," Rodriguez said. "It was awesome. Pretty cool."

The crowd buzzed and roared again when A-Rod stuck his head out of the dugout for the long-awaited curtain call, which came 10 days after he hit No. 499.

"He deserves it," teammate Johnny Damon said. "He has been a tremendous asset to this game."

After he took his seat next to Jeter, the Yankees captain reached out and playfully rubbed A-Rod's head as the two superstars laughed. They were close when they were younger but Rodriguez admitted in spring training that their relationship had cooled over the years.

The All-Star third baseman became the third player to hit 500 as a Yankee and the second to do it in the Bronx. Babe Ruth did it at Cleveland on Aug. 11, 1929, and Mickey Mantle reached the mark at home against Baltimore on May 14, 1967.

"Nobody wants to give up a homer, be a part of history that way," Davies said. "I was trying to throw a sinker down and in and I didn't get it down and in far enough."

Rodriguez went into a tailspin after hitting No. 499 on July 25 at Kansas City. He was hitless in a career-worst 22 straight at-bats before ending the slump Thursday.

His 500th came in his 1,855th game. Only two players took fewer games to reach 500: Mark McGwire (1,639) and Ruth (1,740).

"This was a fantastic, monumental achievement," Steinbrenner said in a statement released by spokesman Howard Rubenstein.

A Rutgers student ended up with the ball, and the Yankees said he didn't want to be identified. Team spokesman Jason Zillo was negotiating with the man about the ball.

"I really want it back," Rodriguez said. "But if not, I congratulate him for catching it. Nice catch."

In the meantime, his batting helmet was headed for the Hall of Fame.

A-Rod and Yankees fans have had an up-and-down relationship since he joined the team in 2004.

"It takes awhile in New York," Rodriguez said. "For some people, it takes six months to a year. I think it truly took me three to four years to understand New York."

Robinson Cano tied a career high with four hits and Bobby Abreu scored four runs for New York, which has won five of its last six to improve to a season-best 10 games over .500. Mike Myers (3-0) got the last out of the fifth to earn the win.

Davies lasted just three innings in his first start for Kansas City, which acquired him from the Braves on Tuesday for reliever Octavio Dotel. John Bale (0-1) got the loss.

Rodriguez was the overall No. 1 pick in the 1993 draft by Seattle. One year later, he became the third 18-year-old shortstop in the majors since 1900. At that point, he gave little indication that he would develop into a two-time AL MVP and one of the game's greatest home run hitters.

A-Rod's first home run came on June 12, 1995, against Tom Gordon and Kansas City.

Notes

  • Rodriguez scored three times and became the first player in major league history with 10 straight seasons of at least 35 homers, 100 RBI and 100 runs scored.
 
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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It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's just A-Rod's 500th HR -- at last -- off Kyle Davies.  (Getty Images)
It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's just A-Rod's 500th HR -- at last -- off Kyle Davies. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
New York

A. Rodriguez
AB 4
R 3
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
New York

B. Abreu
AB 5
R 4
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, CF4223011 .286
   a- Esteban German, PH-LF1000011 .280
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4110010 .308
    Jason Smith, 2B1000000 .224
Mark Teahen, RF4231100 .282
Billy Butler, DH4121102 .301
Ross Gload, 1B4033011 .291
Alex Gordon, 3B5000036 .240
Tony Pena, SS5000043 .280
Joey Gathright, LF-CF3220110 .321
Jason LaRue, C4000013 .157
Totals398138313  
a-struck out for DeJesus in the 8th
Batting
2B - Mark Teahen (21, Hughes), Billy Butler (11, Hughes), Ross Gload (14, Myers), Joey Gathright (6, Hughes)
HR - David DeJesus (6, Hughes)
SF - Ross Gload (4)
RBI - David DeJesus 3 (47), Mark Teahen (46), Billy Butler (31), Ross Gload 3 (34)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Teahen (20), Billy Butler (7), Ross Gload (12)
SB - Mark Teahen (10, 2nd base off Farnsworth/Posada)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Mark Teahen 1
DP - Teahen-LaRue
Kansas City Royals
Kyle Davies 3655321 6.07
John Bale (L,0-1) 1.2522010 3.38
Joel Peralta 1233101 3.76
David Riske 0.1211010 2.39
Zack Greinke0455100 4.78
Jimmy Gobble 1200010 3.16
Joakim Soria 1000000 2.33
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Davies 80-50, John Bale 27-21, Joel Peralta 26-16, David Riske 15-8, Zack Greinke 16-8, Jimmy Gobble 18-11, Joakim Soria 11-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Davies 4-3, John Bale 3-1
Batters Faced - Kyle Davies 18, John Bale 10, Joel Peralta 6, David Riske 3, Zack Greinke 5, Jimmy Gobble 4, Joakim Soria 3
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, DH6000033 .251
Derek Jeter, SS5230001 .330
    Miguel Cairo, SS1000000 .252
Bobby Abreu, RF5432101 .282
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4333100 .301
    Shelley Duncan, 1B1000000 .310
Hideki Matsui, LF4232100 .293
Jorge Posada, C3200215 .340
    Jose Molina, C0000000 .222
Robinson Cano, 2B5243000 .311
Wilson Betemit, 1B4133011 .247
    Andy Phillips, 1B-3B1011000 .307
Melky Cabrera, CF5012002 .291
Totals4416211655  
Batting
2B - Derek Jeter (28, Greinke), Hideki Matsui (22, Davies), Robinson Cano (32, Peralta), Andy Phillips (6, Gobble), Melky Cabrera (17, Riske)
3B - Robinson Cano (6, Davies)
HR - Bobby Abreu (11, Peralta), Alex Rodriguez (36, Davies)
RBI - Bobby Abreu 2 (68), Alex Rodriguez 3 (108), Hideki Matsui 2 (76), Robinson Cano 3 (63), Wilson Betemit 3 (32), Andy Phillips (19), Melky Cabrera 2 (46)
2-OUT RBI - Hideki Matsui (22), Robinson Cano (22), Wilson Betemit 3 (15), Melky Cabrera (18)
SB - Alex Rodriguez (13, 2nd base off Davies/LaRue)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Jeter-Cano-Betemit
E - Alex Rodriguez (8, Throwing)
New York Yankees
Phil Hughes 4.2766251 5.87
Mike Myers (W,3-0) 0.1100010 2.50
Brian Bruney (H,6) 1000030 3.24
Kyle Farnsworth 1111110 4.87
Luis Vizcaino 1100030 3.95
Ron Villone 1311000 3.10
WP - Phil Hughes (2), Kyle Farnsworth (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Phil Hughes 92-63, Mike Myers 9-7, Brian Bruney 19-13, Kyle Farnsworth 20-10, Luis Vizcaino 16-10, Ron Villone 24-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Phil Hughes 5-3, Brian Bruney 1-0, Ron Villone 1-2
Batters Faced - Phil Hughes 22, Mike Myers 2, Brian Bruney 4, Kyle Farnsworth 5, Luis Vizcaino 4, Ron Villone 6
Game Information
Attendance - 54056
Game Time - 4:01
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Adam Dowdy, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Larry Poncino