A-Rod rocks the House, lifts Yankees
NEW YORK - Alex Rodriguez did his part to help make New York's final homestand at Yankee Stadium a milestone week.
Rodriguez became the first player with 35 home runs and 100 RBIs in 12 seasons - one more than Babe Ruth - and New York slowed the Chicago White Sox' pursuit of the AL Central crown with a 5-1 victory last night.
"Any time you can do something like that in a Yankee uniform, it's special," said Rodriguez, who connected off Scott Linebrink in the eighth.
A day earlier, Derek Jeter set the career hits record at the Stadium, and Mariano Rivera passed Lee Smith for second on the saves list Monday.
That's about all Yankees fans have had to root for as the club plays out the final week at Yankee Stadium with the likelihood they will be eliminated from the playoffs for the first time since 1993 before Sunday's finale at the House that Ruth Built.
"Obviously, you come into each and every season to win a World Series," Rodriguez said. "We have a lot of work to do."
Phil Hughes gave New York something positive to think about heading into the offseason, pitching four solid innings in his first start for the Yankees since April 29.
"Obviously, when a player comes back up he wants to show you what he can do. The big thing is being able to relax, and in the tough situations he made the big pitches," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Jermaine Dye had an RBI ground out off Hughes in the third, but that was all the White Sox could muster against the 22-year-old righthander and four relievers. The White Sox maintained their 2 1/2-game lead over Minnesota, which lost to Cleveland.
"We didn't hit well today. We got a couple of men on second base with no outs and didn't hit them over," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "If we want to win, we've got to score more than one run. We've got to be better out of the bullpen if we want to win this thing."
With his homer in the eighth inning, A-Rod became the first player to have at least 35 in 11 consecutive seasons (1998-2008), snapping a tie with Sammy Sosa (1995-2004).
Rodriguez has 101 RBIs this year.
Ruth, who also has 12 seasons with 35 homers, had at least 35 homers and 100 RBIs for the Yankees 11 times in the 1920s and '30s.
"The 11 years in a row means more than the numbers," said Rodriguez, who struck out in five of his previous 10 at-bats before the homer.
Johnny Damon hit a two-run homer, Robinson Cano had three hits, and Xavier Nady had a tying RBI single, scoring Rodriguez, in the seventh inning. Nady then scored on a wild pitch.