Rodriguez Passes Babe Ruth For Most Seasons with 35 HR, 100 RBI
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Alex Rodriguez became the first player with 35 homers and 100 RBIs in 12 seasons — one more than Babe Ruth — and the Yankees slowed the Chicago White Sox’s pursuit of the AL Central crown with a 5-1 victory last night.
Johnny Damon hit a two-run homer, Robinson Cano had three hits and Xavier Nady had a tying RBI single in the seventh inning. Nady then scored on a wild pitch as New York rallied against rookie Clayton Richard in the fifth to last regular-season game at Yankee Stadium.
Jermaine Dye had an RBI groundout off Phil Hughes, who was making his first start since April 29. That was all the White Sox could muster against Hughes and four relievers, who threw five shutout innings. The White Sox entered the night with a 2. game lead over Minnesota.
With his homer in the eighth inning, A-Rod became the first player to have at least 35 in 11 straight seasons (1998-2008), snapping a tie with Sammy Sosa (1995-2004). Rodriguez has 101 RBIs this season.
Ruth had at least 35 homers and 100 RBIs for the Yankees 11 times in the 1920s and 30s.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he would keep Richard, who came in 2-4 with a 6.94 ERA, on a very short leash, and the 25-year-old rookie Richard earned every inning.
He induced double-play grounders in the first, after a leadoff walk, and in the third, after a leadoff single, and struck out Derek Jeter in the fifth after giving up two singles to start the inning.
But Guillen left him in a batter too long. After a visit to the mound that left Richard with a big smile, the rookie gave up a tying single to Nady. Cano followed with a double down the right-field line to end the rookie’s night.
Mike MacDougal relieved and threw a wild pitch that allowed Nady to score and give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Johnny Damon hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Scott Linebrink and Rodriguez lined his 553rd homer to right two batters later for a 5-1 lead.