Kansas City, Mo. It took Alex Rodriguez 47 pressure-laden at-bats to go from career home run No. 599 to No. 600.
Going from 601 to 604 took five pitches.
“Sometimes milestones are a pain,” New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Saturday night after watching A-Rod hit three homers in an 8-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Rodriguez drove in five runs, taking over the major league RBIs lead with 97. He picked on three different pitchers for his deep drives in the hot, humid Midwestern air.
After striking out on three pitches from Sean O’Sullivan in his previous at-bat, Rodriguez led off the sixth inning with a 412-foot shot against the Royals starter.
Rodriguez added a two-run drive off Kanekoa Texeira in the seventh that carried 419 feet and put the Yankees on top, 6-3.
A-Rod connected in the ninth against Greg Holland for the most impressive drive, a 439-foot shot that landed in the water fountains in left field.
“It was a lot of fun,” Rodriguez said. “Overall, I’ve been feeling pretty good the last few days. I’ve had some pretty good sessions with Kevin Long, our hitting coach.”
Rodriguez has 21 home runs this season and 604 lifetime. It was the 56th multihomer game of his 16-year career.
In late July and early August, the baseball world waited game after game as Rodriguez tried to become the seventh man and youngest player ever to crack the 600-homer milestone. Finally, on Aug. 4, he did it.
“The idea of being stuck at 599 was really a microcosm of what’s happened all year,” he said. “I’ve been able to drive in some runs, hit some doubles here and there, but overall not for power. The key is consistency in hitting the ball hard.”
He sure did that.
“He was dead on today, that’s for sure,” said Royals manager Ned Yost. “I don’t know which was more amazing — the ball to center or the ball to left there in the fountain. He got a hold of both them.”