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BLUE JAYS 7, YANKEES 3

Toronto blasts Yankees

For Rodriguez, a hit and a miss

TORONTO -- Alex Rodriguez enjoyed reaching some milestones that reminded him how good he is after a week of criticism.

Rodriguez became the youngest player to reach 450 home runs, but committed his team-leading 18th error in the New York Yankees' 7-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays last night.

``It's cool that it came this week because in a week of so much criticism it's good to get a little reminder that you do some special things in this game," said Rodriguez, who has struggled in the field.

Rodriguez's three-run homer in the third inning off A.J. Burnett was also his 2,000th hit. Rodriguez, who turns 31 next Thursday, is the eighth player to get his 2,000th hit before his 31st birthday.

``Four hundred fifty is something I'm proud of and 2,000 at the same time, it's kind of unique," Rodriguez said. ``Unfortunately, we couldn't do it with a win, but I'm still going to enjoy it."

A Yankees fan caught the ball and returned it to Rodriguez, who signed baseballs for the woman's family. He also posed for pictures.

Ken Griffey Jr. was the previous youngest to reach 450. He was 31 years 261 days old when he did it Aug. 9, 2001.

But Rodriguez continues to struggle defensively. He made a costly error Thursday, and he failed to catch Vernon Wells's popup in foul territory in the fourth yesterday. ``I didn't see it at all. Tough sky," Rodriguez said.

Wells followed with a grounder to Rodriguez, whose throw to first pulled Andy Phillips off the bag for an error. Frank Catalanotto, who had walked, took second, and later scored on Troy Glaus's sacrifice fly to make it 6-3.

Fans jeered and one fan held up a sign that read ``E-Rod."

Manager Joe Torre said Rodriguez reached the milestone with flair. ``That was a laser beam. It's remarkable. He's still 30 years old and he has 2,000 hits and 450 homers. I'm sure he's very proud of that, but I'm also sure that he'd rather do something on an everyday basis. We know he's capable. We need for him to do it."

Glaus homered and had four RBIs and Burnett earned his second win for the Blue Jays, who have won the first two games of their four-game series against the second-place Yankees.

``It's a playoff atmosphere with 40,000 people in the stands, that helps you lock in," Toronto's Lyle Overbay said.

Scott Schoeneweis pitched 1 2/3 innings for his first save of the season and the third of his career.

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