NEW YORK -- On an odd night in the Bronx, Alex Rodriguez did what comes normal to him. He hit yet another home run on his march through the record book.
Before that, Derek Jeter hit his first inside-the-park homer since 1996 and Jorge Posada had a go-ahead double and a bizarre throwing error that cost New York a run and put Yuniesky Betancourt on second after striking out. But the Yankees rebounded to help CC Sabathia (13-3) win his ninth straight decision.
|1. Barry Bonds||762|
|2. Hank Aaron||755|
|3. Babe Ruth||714|
|4. Willie Mays||660|
|5. Ken Griffey Jr.||630|
|6. Sammy Sosa||609|
|7. Alex Rodriguez-y||599|
|8. Frank Robinson||586|
|9. Mark McGwire||583|
|10. Jim Thome-y||575|
Rodriguez, who had four RBI, hit a solo homer to right field in the seventh inning, putting New York ahead 6-4 and leaving him one shy of becoming the seventh major league player to reach 600.
He came up again in the eighth with a chance at the milestone. With cameras flashing, A-Rod hit an RBI double that drew groans and sent Yankees fans to the exits -- just one more oddity on a night full of them.
"I'm having fun," Rodriguez said. "I'm going to hit it."
The three-time AL MVP connected on an 0-2 pitch from reliever Robinson Tejeda for his 16th home run of the season. Rodriguez, who turns 35 on Tuesday, is closing in on becoming the youngest player to reach the 600-homer plateau. Before last season, he admitted using steroids from 2001-03 with Texas.
Rodriguez hit No. 598 on Sunday against Tampa Bay, but No. 1 (in June 1995) and No. 500 (in August 2007) against the Royals.
He took his time getting to that last milestone, going 10 days between Nos. 499 and 500, but breezily dismissed questions Thursday about pressure.
"Nothing's as exciting as what happened last November," he said, referring to his first World Series championship. "Now, I have a different perspective on things."
Jeter's deep drive in the third off Bruce Chen (5-4) settled in center fielder David DeJesus' glove, but he ran into the fence in front of the Yankees' bullpen in right-center with his arm extended. His glove and wrist twisted back and the ball popped out as DeJesus fell.
Jeter motored home for his second career inside-the-park home run, tying the game at 3. His first came Aug. 2, 1996, his rookie season.
"After I caught it, I jammed it into the wall and coming down, I thought I still had it," DeJesus said. "At first I thought it was my wrist, and then I looked down and saw my thumb growing."
DeJesus sprained his thumb on the play and was replaced immediately by Rick Ankiel, who came off the disabled list earlier Thursday. Royals manager Ned Yost said DeJesus would see a hand specialist in Cleveland.
Sabathia gave up 11 hits and four runs, three earned, in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked four with a balk and a wild pitch.
Chen gave up five runs and nine hits in six innings.
Kansas City lost despite having 14 hits, five walks and a pair of successful double steals. The Royals left a season-high 14 on base.
In the fifth, Posada went to third on a wild pitch following his RBI double, then came home on Marcus Thames' sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.
That extra run looked critical when the Royals got an unearned run in the sixth on Posada's ill-advised throw.
With one out and Willie Bloomquist on third following a double and a balk, Posada blocked a wild pitch that was the third strike to Betancourt. Standing in front of the plate, he saw Bloomquist off the bag and tried to get him, though there was time to throw to first.
The throw went wide and Bloomquist came home while Betancourt wound up on second. It was scored a strikeout and a wild pitch, with an error on Posada that allowed the run to score and Betancourt to advance.
"Well, it was a great ballgame for eight innings," Yost said. "I thought Bruce really battled and grinded it out."
The Royals went up 2-0 in the first, but the Yankees tied it in the bottom half when Rodriguez blooped a two-run double.
"It's a little bit frustrating," Chen said. "You always want to keep him from hitting the ball hard, and I did my job and he still hit a double."
In the fifth, Kansas City's Billy Butler was called out by plate umpire Eric Cooper when he tried to score on Wilson Betemit's single to left field. Brett Gardner's throw to Posada was in time, though replays showed Posada missed the tag.
"There's a lot of things that happened in this game, but fortunately, we were able to win it," Jeter said.
- The Yankees put up a tribute to late owner George Steinbrenner on the wall behind the right-field bleachers. A banner with his portrait, name, dates and "THE BOSS" covered the wall where the team listed its championship years.
- Teixeira reached base safely for the 38th straight game.
- Kansas City led the majors with a .281 batting average entering the game.
- Posada nearly had another throwing error, but his looping throw after Betancourt's strikeout was still in time to end the eighth.