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New York at Tampa Bay

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N.Y. Yankees (103-59) «000001000010120
Tampa Bay (84-78)100010000272

A-Rod homers twice, drives in seven in Yanks' rout

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run homer on his first swing of the season and smacked a grand slam on his last. The New York Yankees slugger was pretty impressive in between, too.

Setting what he hopes will be the tone for a successful playoff run, Rodriguez homered twice and drove in an AL-record seven runs in a 10-run sixth inning Sunday, helping the AL East champions finish the regular season with a 10-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

"We have one goal and it's to win 11 games," he said, looking ahead to the postseason. "If we get to 11 wins, that's means we're going to get contributions from everyone."

On this day, he was a one-man wrecking crew.

Rodriguez hit a three-run homer off Wade Davis, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead. He added his 18th career grand slam later in the inning after Andy Sonnanstine issued an intentional walk to league co-home run champion Mark Teixeira to load the bases.

"It was awesome. That was a great inning for him and for the team," Teixiera said. "It's good to have a nice offensive output like that the last game of the season and give us some momentum."

The previous AL record of six RBI in an inning was accomplished 12 times, most recently by Boston's David Ortiz on Aug. 12, 2008. The major league record is eight, set by Fernando Tatis, who hit two grand slams in an inning for St. Louis on April 23, 1999.

New York, preparing to open the playoffs at home against Detroit or Minnesota on Wednesday or Thursday, finished with a 103-59 record, its best since 103-58 in 2002.

Tampa Bay dropped to 84-78 after going 97-65 last year and reaching the World Series for the first time.

A-Rod moved into a tie with Mark McGwire for eighth on the career list with 583 homers. It also gave him at least 30 homers and 100 RBI for the 13th time -- including the past 12 seasons -- despite missing the first month with a hip injury.

"Unbelievable," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He needed two homers and seven RBI to keep his streak alive. It's really pretty amazing. That's the player he is."

A.J. Burnett (13-9) pitched five innings for the victory, enabling the Yankees to avoid a weekend sweep.

Joba Chamberlain, who could be headed for the bullpen for the first round of the playoffs, tossed a perfect inning in relief as Girardi continued to get the pitching staff ready for the postseason.

Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman will meet Monday to begin discussions on the playoff roster.

A year after making an improbable run to the American League pennant, the Rays finished 19 games behind the Yankees in the division. Evan Longoria scored both of the runs off Burnett, hitting his 33rd homer in the first and racing home on a passed ball to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead in the fifth.

Rookies Davis (2-2), Jeff Niemann and David Price combined for 25 wins and are part of the reason the Rays are optimistic about their prospects of returning to the top of the AL East next year.

"There's no doubt we'll be right back in it, and our goal is to get to the World Series again in 2010. Period," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Nothing else really matters in regard to our goal-setting."

Rodriguez was sidelined until May 8 after hip surgery, then homered on the first pitch he saw from Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie. He began Sunday with 28 homers and 93 RBI and said the possibility of extending his 30-100 streak didn't cross his mind until New York batted around in the sixth.

"I just didn't think it was realistic at all, so therefore it wasn't even a goal," Rodriguez said.

"I was actually talking to [Eric] Hinske and I said I may have one shot. If they load the bases, I might pop one, you never know. I was just joking around, then I hit it."

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner visited with the team for about an hour in the clubhouse before the game and later said he's "excited" about the playoffs, which will start later this week.

The 79-year-old Steinbrenner made the trip to Tropicana Field from his home in nearby Tampa for the second time this season. He also met with the players before a Yankees win in St. Petersburg on July 29.

"It was really great to see him. He was in good spirits," Girardi said. "Said, 'Just keep it going. Just keep doing what you're doing."'

Notes

  • Teixeira and Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena tied for the AL home run title with 39.
  • Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte wound up earning $10.5 million of the $12 million available under his contract -- $500,000 more than the Yankees' original offer of $10 million guaranteed that he failed to accept. Pettitte had a $5.5 million base salary, earned $3 million based on innings and $2 million for staying on the active roster the entire season. He missed $750,000 bonuses for 200 and 210 innings, finishing with 194 2/3.
  • The Rays sat All-Stars Jason Bartlett and Carl Crawford. Bartlett finished with a career-best .320 batting average, a team record. Crawford, who batted .305, set the previous mark of .315 in 2007.
 
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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Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira await Alex Rodriguez following A-Rod's three-run homer in the 6th.  (AP)
Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira await Alex Rodriguez following A-Rod's three-run homer in the 6th. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

A. Rodriguez
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 2
RBI 7
Tampa Bay

E. Longoria
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
 
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS4020013 .334
    Jerry Hairston Jr., SS-2B1010000 .251
Johnny Damon, LF4122012 .282
    Brett Gardner, PR-CF1100002 .270
Mark Teixeira, 1B2100212 .292
    Juan Miranda, PR-1B1100012 .333
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4237001 .286
    Eric Hinske, 3B1000002 .242
Hideki Matsui, DH2010000 .274
    Freddy Guzman, PR-DH-LF2100000 .167
Nick Swisher, RF4110103 .249
    Shelley Duncan, PR-RF0000000 .200
Robinson Cano, 2B4000012 .320
    Ramiro Pena, SS1000001 .287
Melky Cabrera, CF-LF4110010 .274
   a- Francisco Cervelli, PH1000001 .298
Jose Molina, C4110020 .217
Totals401012938  
a-flied out for Hughes in the 9th
Batting
2B - Johnny Damon 2 (36, Davis, Sonnanstine), Nick Swisher (35, J. Bennett), Jose Molina (4, Thayer)
HR - Alex Rodriguez 2 (30, Davis, Sonnanstine)
RBI - Johnny Damon 2 (82), Alex Rodriguez 7 (100)
2-OUT RBI - Johnny Damon 2 (36), Alex Rodriguez 4 (38)
SB - Freddy Guzman (4, 2nd base off Davis/Zaun)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
PB - Jose Molina (3)
New York Yankees
A.J. Burnett (W,13-9) 5721131 4.04
David Robertson 1000010 3.30
Joba Chamberlain 1000010 4.75
Phil Coke 0.2000010 4.50
Phil Hughes 0.1000010 3.03
Mariano Rivera 1000010 1.76
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 84-55, David Robertson 14-10, Joba Chamberlain 9-7, Phil Coke 9-6, Phil Hughes 7-5, Mariano Rivera 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 8-4, David Robertson 2-0, Joba Chamberlain 1-1, Mariano Rivera 2-0
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 23, David Robertson 3, Joba Chamberlain 3, Phil Coke 2, Phil Hughes 1, Mariano Rivera 3
Tampa Bay Rays
B.J. Upton, CF2000100 .241
    Fernando Perez, CF1000010 .206
Reid Brignac, SS4000002 .278
Evan Longoria, 3B3231000 .281
    Shawn Riggans, C1000010 .143
Ben Zobrist, 2B4020013 .297
Willy Aybar, 1B-3B4000025 .253
Pat Burrell, DH4000010 .221
Gregg Zaun, C3010000 .260
    Chris Richard, 1B1000000 .105
Gabe Gross, RF4000021 .227
Gabe Kapler, LF3010001 .239
Totals3427118  
Batting
2B - Ben Zobrist 2 (28, Burnett, Burnett)
HR - Evan Longoria (33, Burnett)
RBI - Evan Longoria (113)
2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria (41)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Andy Sonnanstine (3, Misplayed grounder), Gregg Zaun (6, Interference)
Tampa Bay Rays
Wade Davis (L,2-2) 5653251 3.72
Andy Sonnanstine 1350111 6.77
Dale Thayer 2200020 4.61
Jeff Bennett 1100000 5.01
IBB - Teixeira by Andy Sonnanstine
Pitches-Strikes - Wade Davis 97-63, Andy Sonnanstine 27-19, Dale Thayer 34-21, Jeff Bennett 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wade Davis 4-6, Andy Sonnanstine 2-1, Dale Thayer 2-2, Jeff Bennett 1-2
Batters Faced - Wade Davis 24, Andy Sonnanstine 8, Dale Thayer 8, Jeff Bennett 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28699
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Kerwin Danley, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Brian Runge