New York — On an odd night in the Bronx, Alex Rodriguez did what comes normally to him. He hit yet another home run on his march through the record book.
The slugger hit No. 599 to help the Yankees pull away and beat the Kansas City Royals, 10-4, Thursday in a game of never-seen-that-before plays.
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.
Rodriguez, who had four RBIs, 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.