That's why the Kansas City pitcher could smile while standing in front of his locker on Saturday, despite giving up two homers to Mark Teixeira and another to Jorge Posada. After all, he kept Rodriguez in the park and pitched the Royals to a 7-4 win over the New York Yankees.
"It's almost like I learned from before," said Davies, who gave up A-Rod's 500th home run and wasn't about to let him hit No. 600. "I just tried to make the best pitches I could."
Davies (5-6) also kept the rest of the hot-hitting Yankees in check on a sweltering day in the Bronx. He survived 5 1/3 innings to win for the first time since May 28, giving Kansas City just its sixth win at Yankee Stadium in 33 tries.
"He really pitched well the first few innings and was cruising, then he gave up the home runs," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He was really fighting it from there."
The Kansas City bullpen picked him up, though.
Kyle Farnsworth, Robinson Tejeda and Joakim Soria kept the Yankees off the scoreboard the rest of the way, with Soria surviving a shaky ninth for his 27th save. He put runners on first and second with two outs before getting Teixeira on a groundout to end the game -- although replays showed he may have beaten Yuniesky Betancourt's throw to first base.
"I was safe," Teixeira said flatly. "But there's nothing you can do about it."
The game was paused for a moment before each of A-Rod's at-bats so that plate umpire Mike Reilly could change out the balls for specially marked ones. A sellout crowd of 48,138 roared every time Rodriguez stepped to the plate, then sighed when the ball stayed in the yard.
"The fans have been so great. Everyone wants it so badly here at home," A-Rod said. "But I have to stay within myself, hit it the other way, try to stay comfortable."
Rodriguez finished 1-for-4 and remained on 599 home runs for the second straight day.
"Davies did his part to relive the moment. He kept challenging me. He kept pumping those fastballs in there," Rodriguez said, smiling. "I love that guy!"
Afterward, Davies recalled asking for a signed ball from Rodriguez following his 500th homer on Aug. 4, 2007. A-Rod sent back a signed bat that read, "Thanks for being a good sport."
"With big hitters in the lineup like Teixeira, Alex, you have to keep the ball down," Davies said. "I did a pretty good job with Alex, not quite as good with Teixeira."
The temperature was 89 degrees at first pitch, though unofficial readings on the field put it well into triple digits by the third inning. Players paraded to dugout water coolers each half inning, the umpire crew gratefully accepted drinks from the bat boys, and fans clamored for shade under the overhangs at Yankee Stadium.
The rust showed from the opening batter, when Scott Podsednik led off with a single and Jason Kendall got plunked by a pitch. A double steal put runners on second and third, and Billy Butler grounded to Rodriguez at third. His throw home was wide and Posada lost control of the ball while trying to apply the tag, giving the Royals a 1-0 lead.
Jose Guillen hit a sacrifice fly later in the inning, and the Royals added another run in the third when Butler singled to left and Kendall scampered home from second. Three more scored in the fourth on Rick Ankiel's two-run double and Podsednik's RBI single, making it 6-0.
Teixeira hit his first homer leading off the fourth, and Posada went deep moments later, but the Royals immediately got one back in the fifth when Guillen homered to left.
Teixeira added his second homer, a two-run shot to right, with two outs in the fifth. It was his third multihomer game this season and the 28th of his career, and left Yankees manager Joe Girardi optimistic that the first baseman is finally heating up.
"He's too good a hitter not to hit," Girardi said.
Yankees OF Brett Gardner was out of the starting lineup after a quick hospital trip Saturday morning because of acid reflux. He's expected back Sunday. OF Nick Swisher (left Achilles' tendon) was also out of the starting lineup but flew out as a pinch hitter in the eighth. ... The Yankees optioned RHP Jonathan Albaladejo to make room for Mitre. ... Royals RHP Luke Hochevar (right elbow sprain) began light throwing Saturday. ... The game was played on the 27th anniversary of the "pine-tar" game involving the Royals Hall of Famer George Brett.