Rodriguez hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning, his second of the game, and the New York Yankees rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday to move back into first place in the AL East.
"We've run into a wall here. We've played a lot of one-run games and been on the wrong side of things," said Rodriguez, who had his 57th multiple-homer effort. "For us, today is a big game. Every game down the stretch is going to be important."
Trailing 3-1, Jorge Posada led off the ninth with a single off Koji Uehara (1-2), prevailing in an 11-pitch at-bat, and went to second on Curtis Granderson's one-out single. Mark Teixeira popped out and the Yankees were down to their last strike before Rodriguez hit a 2-2 fastball into the stands in left-center.
Uehara thought he had Rodriguez struck out on a 1-2 inside fastball on the pitch before the home run.
"I wasn't able to locate the ball the next pitch. Well, I cant change the results," Uehara said through interpreter Jiwan Bang.
For the eighth time in 10 games, the Yankees were in a one-run ballgame. Yankees manager Joe Girardi hopes the positive result can ignite some momentum.
|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||608|
|8. Jim Thome-y||587|
|9. Frank Robinson||586|
|10. Mark McGwire||583|
"This is the one that maybe gets us going," Girardi said. "We've been in a tough stretch here, losing some tough games. But we found a way to get it done tonight."
The Yankees posted their 46th come-from-behind victory of the season and improved to 2-5 on their nine-game road trip. They moved back into first place in the division, one-half game ahead of Tampa Bay, which lost 4-3 to Los Angeles on Friday.
"We've been struggling scoring runs. We had some guys on today and we just couldn't seem to get the hit. Then Alex has the huge hit in the ninth. That's a huge win," Girardi said.
David Robertson (4-4) worked a scoreless eighth.
Mariano Rivera got the final three outs for his 31st save.
Sporting a black eye, Yankees starter A.J. Burnett yielded three runs and six hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out five.
"This is probably the best I've felt in a long time tonight, as far as overall everything. ... Every time out, they're not giant steps but they're steps forward," Burnett said.
Burnett, however, wouldn't address the crescent-shaped, purple bruise beneath his right eye -- other than to say it wasn't baseball-related.
"It makes me look tough," he said jokingly. "It's something I have to deal with. I dealt with it and we move on."
Baltimore wasted a nice start by Kevin Millwood, who allowed a run and five hits over seven innings, walking four and striking out six. He wiggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam after Rodriguez's solo homer in the second.
"In the second inning, I had a bunch [of baserunners] on. In the seventh, had a couple on," Millwood said. "Other than that, it felt like I was able to get through innings pretty quick. They were a lot more aggressive tonight than they normally are. I guess it was a good thing that I was throwing my fastball where I wanted to, for the most part."
Rodriguez led off the second inning with his 24th homer, connecting to left-center on an 0-1 pitch.
Jones hit a one-out solo shot to center to make it 2-1 in the fourth. It was his 19th homer, matching a career high.
In the seventh, Andino hit a line-drive homer to left, his first of the season.
- Rodriguez now has 608 career homers, one behind Sammy Sosa, who is sixth on the all-time list.
- OF Nick Swisher was out of the Yankees' starting lineup for a fifth straight game with a sore left knee. He grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.
- Two days after he feigned being hit by a pitch against Tampa Bay, New York SS Derek Jeter still thinks the attention the incident received is unwarranted. "What am I supposed to do? Say, 'Sorry, sir, but it didn't hit me. Please let me continue to hit?' ... The umpire called it, not me," Jeter said.
- When Rodriguez homered in the first, fireworks were mistakenly shot off from the scoreboard in right-center.
- Millwood did not allow a first-inning run for the sixth time in his last 20 starts.
- Greg Colbrunn, manager of the Yankees' Class A Charleston affiliate, has joined the major league coaching staff and will be with the team through Sept. 23.