M's three back in wild card after 10-2 romp by Yanks
Alex Rodriguez homered twice in an eight-run seventh inning to lead New York over Seattle 10-2 Wednesday night and help the Yankees open a three-game lead over the Mariners in the AL wild-card race.
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez had a night befitting legends.
The Yankees planned to take him out of the starting lineup because of his sprained right ankle, but A-Rod talked his way in. Then he homered twice in an eight-run seventh inning to lead New York over Seattle 10-2 Wednesday night and help the Yankees open a three-game lead over the Mariners in the AL wild-card race.
Rodriguez arrived at Yankee Stadium limping following a collision with Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre on Tuesday, and team's medical staff sent him downtown for an MRI exam. Rodriguez pronounced himself "ready to roll" and was upset that he had to go for the scan.
About an hour before game time, Yankees manager Joe Torre said A-Rod likely would be limited to pinch-hitting duty. Rodriguez then tested his ankle with a few jogs in right field while the Mariners were finishing batting practice. He ran in foul territory toward the dugout, up a runway and into the Yankees' clubhouse.
"I've got to talk to the manager," he said with a determined look, never stopping as he went through the door.
He walked and popped out in his first two plate appearances against Jarrod Washburn (9-13). Then, with the Yankees trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Rodriguez hit a 3-2 fastball over the retired numbers behind the fence in left-center. Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada's bases-loaded walk off Sean Green put the Yankees ahead, and New York padded the margin on Johnny Damon's run-scoring grounder, Melky Cabrera's RBI single and Derek Jeter's two-run double.
Rodriguez then drove a 2-1 pitch from Brandon Morrow into the left-field seats for a two-run homer. He rounded the bases, received congratulations in the dugout and emerged for his second curtain call of the inning.
His first homer tied Mel Ott on the career list, and his second matched Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 17th place at 512. Rodriguez, who leads the majors with 48 homers and 134 RBIs, had the 51st multihomer game of his career and became the first Yankees player to homer twice in an inning since Cliff Johnson on June 30, 1977, at Toronto.
Detroit's Magglio Ordonez and San Francisco's Bengie Molina also accomplished the feat this season.
The slumping Mariners have dropped 11 of 12.
Rodriguez's first home run came less than a minute after the Yankees announced the MRI exam revealed a sprain and a bruise. A-Rod already was in workout clothes when he was told to go for the scan, and he was upset that he was forced to get the test.
"He didn't call us this morning saying it was a problem, but I think when our trainers saw that he was limping a little bit, that they alerted our doctor," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I think he probably thinks it's a waste of time. He self-diagnosed that he is fine."
Joba Chamberlain (1-0) pitched a 1-2-3 seventh in relief of Phil Hughes to win in his first major league decision. Chamberlain hasn't allowed a run in 12 1-3 innings over 10 games in his big league career.
Washburn dropped to 1-7 with 5.32 ERA in 11 starts since All-Star break, allowing three runs -- two earned -- and three hits in six-plus innings. An error by Jose Lopez led to the big inning -- after Rodriguez's tying homer, the second baseman allowed Robinson Cano's grounder to bounce off him and into right field.
Raul Ibanez's two-run homer put Seattle ahead in the third, and Jose Molina started New York's comeback with a home run in the bottom half. Ibanez could have had a three-run drive, but the Mariners were hurt by the first of what appeared to be two blown calls by umpires against Ichiro Suzuki.
Suzuki led off the inning with a single and tried to steal second. He was called out by second base umpire Gerry Davis even though Jeter missed the tag. In the fifth, Suzuki appeared to beat out a grounder but was called out by first base umpire Tony Randazzo. Manager John McLaren unsuccessfully argued the call.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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