OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez arrived at his locker
Tuesday afternoon to find balloons and a bottle of Cognac, a gift
from a fan.
The present he received after the game meant much more -- his
350th home run ball.
"This is my biggest hit as a Yankee," said Rodriguez, who
struggled at the start in his first season wearing pinstripes.
The Yankees tied Boston for first place in the AL East, making
up 4½ games since getting swept at home by the Red Sox April
New York's winning streak began the previous Tuesday night with another
comeback victory over Oakland -- also keyed by Sierra. This time, he
hit a bases-loaded double with two outs in the seventh for a 9-8
New York lead.
Rodriguez went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in the seventh and
drove in four runs to raise his batting average to .275. He became
the 70th player to reach 350 homers, and the youngest in major
league history to do it.
He accomplished the feat at 28 years, 282 days. Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 350th at 28 years, 308 days.
Rodriguez's shot off Mark Mulder to left-center pushed the
reigning AL MVP past 1,000 career RBI -- he now has 1,001. It also
pulled the Yankees to 8-6.
"It goes fast," Rodriguez said. "I'm 28, and I've been here 10
years now. It's humbling. It brings back memories of the great guys
I've played with -- Edgar Martinez, under the tutelage of Lou
Piniella, a former Yankee. ...
"Griffey is the most special talent I've ever seen on a
baseball diamond. I had a great seat for six years playing with
him," Rodriguez said.
Donovan Osborne (2-0) pitched four innings in relief for the
win. He also beat the A's the Tuesday before, in New York.
"How about that? That's a good feeling," he said. "When
you're losing like that, you just try to keep your team in the game
and get outs any way you can."
Mariano Rivera struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 10th
save in 10 chances. The Yankees retired the final 15 Oakland
It was the biggest deficit the Yankees have overcome since July
16, 2000, when they defeated Philadelphia 9-8 in 10 innings after
Chad Bradford (1-1) walked two in the seventh and took the loss.
New York's Jose Contreras struggled through the shortest start
of his career, allowing six earned runs and four hits in two-plus
innings. He said he had trouble locating his fastball.
Manager Joe Torre isn't sure what's wrong with the right-hander,
who went 7-2 last year in his first major league season.
"He certainly didn't look like the confident guy we had out
there five or six days ago," Torre said. "We have to find a way
to get it done."
Mulder wasn't sharp in his sixth start of the year, getting
tagged for seven runs and 13 hits in 6 1/3 innings for Oakland,
which was swept in three games at Yankee Stadium last week and has
lost eight of 10 overall.
Mulder's 13 hits allowed were the second most he has given up in
his career. His career high was 15, on July 5, 2000, at Texas.
"It's embarrassing when you can't hold a 7-1 lead," Mulder
said. "It's ridiculous."
Chavez hit his seventh homer of the season on a 1-2 pitch from
Contreras in the first, a two-run shot that bounced up a stairwell
in right field. After Jermaine Dye struck out, Hatteberg connected
for his second homer.
Chavez hit his second homer -- his eighth of the season -- leading
off the fifth, sending an 0-1 pitch from Osborne into the
left-field bleachers. It was "a slider that didn't slide,"
The A's loaded the bases in the third after Mark Kotsay led off with a single and Eric Byrnes and Chavez walked. Dye walked with the bases loaded to score a run. The A's added two more on Erubiel Durazo's single.
New York, which had a season-high 17 hits, got an insurance run
in the ninth. Hideki Matsui hit a key double, and Jorge Posada
scored from third when Enrique Wilson beat out a potential
Jason Giambi, the AL MVP with Oakland in 2000, went 1-for-4 with
a walk and grounded into two double plays.
Rodriguez is the third-youngest player in major league
history to reach 1,000 RBI -- behind Mel Ott (27 years, 94 days)
and Jimmie Foxx (27 years, 236 days). ... Chavez had his 10th
career multihomer game. His last was Sept. 11, 2003, at Anaheim.