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A-Rod's 3 homers, 10 RBIs steal spotlight



Published: Wed, April 27, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Only 10 other major leaguers have driven in as many runs.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez hit three home runs in his first three at-bats and became only the 11th major league player with 10 or more RBIs in a game, leading the New York Yankees over the Los Angeles Angels 12-4 Tuesday night.

The marquee matchup might have been across town at Shea Stadium, where the Mets' Pedro Martinez lost to Atlanta's John Smoltz, but it was A-Rod who put on the biggest show in New York on Tuesday.

Each of his home runs came with two outs against Bartolo Colon (3-2) in the first four innings and drew rousing ovations from the Yankees' fans, who have been reluctant to embrace the $252 million star since he was acquired before the 2004 season.

"Definitely tonight was one of those magical nights," Rodriguez said. "I've hit three home runs twice before, but nothing feels as special as this, doing it in New York, doing it in the pinstripes."

Another hit

He added a run-scoring single in the sixth off Kevin Gregg and finished one RBI shy of the AL record of 11 set by the Yankees' Tony Lazzeri in 1936. The major league record of 12 is shared by the St. Louis Cardinals' Jim Bottomley (1924) and Mark Whiten (1993).

Nomar Garciaparra had been the last player with 10 RBIs in a game, accomplishing the feat for Boston against Seattle on May 10, 1999.

"I never really find Bartolo Colon very hittable," said Rodriguez, who increased his RBIs total to 25.

Rodriguez hit the 11th grand slam of his career in the fourth inning after hitting a three-run shot in the first and a two-run homer in the third, all two-out drives. Coming in, he had been 2-for-13 this year with runners in scoring position and two outs.

His homer in the first, which followed two walks, landed over the 399-foot marker in left-center. When his long fly in the third landed in the Angels' bullpen in left field, the Yankee Stadium crowd of 36,328 stood and cheered until Rodriguez appeared out of the dugout one pitch into the next at-bat.

The fans stood throughout his at-bat in the fourth. After his drive on a 3-2 pitch hit off the front of the center-field bleachers, just beyond the 408-foot sign, they clapped along to the music and chanted "A-Rod!" until he made his second curtain call several minutes later, during reliever Kevin Gregg's warmups.

Even more applause

Even after Rodriguez lined out in the eighth, fans greeted him with loud applause, then began a quick run for the exits with a 12-3 lead. Rodriguez was given the ninth inning off.

Rodriguez's performance overshadowed Carl Pavano's first win in pinstripes. He pitched effectively for seven innings, often falling behind in the count but only getting into real trouble against a potent Angels lineup in the third when he walked two and gave up an RBI single to Vladimir Guerrero and run-scoring grounder to Garret Anderson.

Pavano (2-2), whose previous victory was at Toronto last week, gave up three runs and seven hits.

Colon had allowed just one run in 15 innings over two starts. Each of Rodriguez's home runs followed bouts of wildness; Colon walked five in 3 2/3 innings and gave up 10 runs -- five earned.

Giving up the longball has always been a problem for Colon, but he had allowed just one in 27 2/3 innings through his first four starts this season.

Bernie Williams had an RBI grounder on one of Chone Figgins' two errors in the fourth and Jorge Posada added an RBI groundout for New York.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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