A-Rod Hits 7th Homer During 5-Game Streak

Monday, September 10th 2007, 7:26 am
By: News On 6

Alex Rodriguez's home run tear is carrying the Yankees toward the playoffs _ and one of their chief competitors just lost a key pitcher to injury.

Closing in on his third MVP award, Rodriguez homered for the fifth straight game Sunday and New York completed a weekend sweep with a 6-3 victory at Kansas City. The surging Yankees, who have won five in a row, extended their AL wild-card lead to four games over Detroit.

A-Rod's two-run shot in the first inning was his seventh homer during the streak and ninth in 11 games. With three weeks left in what he calls ``a magical season,'' the slugger leads the majors with 52 home runs and 140 RBIs.

``I'm enjoying it,'' Rodriguez said. ``It says a lot about the three guys who are hitting in front of me and the protection I'm getting behind me. The reason I'm getting pitched to is those guys behind me _ they get a lot of respect. I just want to finish strong.''

If the Tigers are going to challenge New York down the stretch, they'll probably have to do it without Jeremy Bonderman.

After getting roughed up in a 14-7 loss to Seattle at Comerica Park, the right-hander will be shut down while doctors try to determine what's wrong with his ailing elbow. Bonderman, who is 1-8 since starting the season 10-1, could be sidelined for the rest of the year.

``I've got some sharp pain on the outside of my elbow,'' he said. ``I'm done for a while, but I don't know how long it's going to be. ... I'm going to do what I can to hopefully get back this year.''

In other AL games, it was: Boston 3, Baltimore 2; Cleveland 6, Los Angeles 2; Tampa Bay 3, Toronto 2; Minnesota 5, Chicago 2; and Texas 12, Oakland 9.

Ichiro Suzuki scored in each of the first four innings and the Mariners won for only the second time in 15 games to remain five back of New York in the wild-card race. Raul Ibanez hit a three-run homer, Adrian Beltre had four RBIs and Jose Guillen drove in three runs as Seattle scored 13 times in the first four innings.

Felix Hernandez (12-7) earned the win despite giving up seven runs _ six earned _ and 10 hits with three walks over five-plus innings.

Detroit's Curtis Granderson joined Willie Mays and Frank Schulte as the only players in major league history with 20 stolen bases, 20 homers, 20 triples and 20 doubles in a season.

Bonderman (11-9) gave up six runs and seven hits in 1 1-3 innings _ matching the shortest outing of his five-year career.

``He's not right, so that's the end of that for now,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``The medical people will look into it further. It's not right.''

At Kansas City, Chien-Ming Wang earned his 18th win to remain tied for the major league lead, and Jorge Posada hit a tiebreaking, two-run double for the Yankees. With shortstop Derek Jeter held out because of a sore knee, New York stayed 5 1/2 games back of first-place Boston in the AL East.

Wang (18-6) gave up a three-run double to Alex Gordon but went seven innings to win his fifth start in a row. Against the Royals, the right-hander is 4-0 in six career starts. Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 25th save in 28 chances.

New York, now a season-high 19 games over .500, went 8-1 against Kansas City this season.

``They are just on fire right now,'' Royals manager Buddy Bell said.

With 516 homers, Rodriguez is five behind Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 15th place on the career list. It's the third time in his brilliant 13-year career that he's homered in five consecutive games.

Red Sox 3, Orioles 2

At Baltimore, Josh Beckett (18-6) allowed two runs in seven innings and Coco Crisp singled home the tiebreaking run in the eighth. Mike Lowell drove in two runs and Jonathan Papelbon earned his 35th save.

Indians 6, Angels 2

Ryan Garko hit a three-run homer, Asdrubal Cabrera had two RBIs and visiting Cleveland split a four-game series between AL division leaders.

The Indians' 13th victory in 16 tries increased their AL Central lead to six games over Detroit. The first-place Angels, who played without ailing right fielder Vladimir Guerrero again, have an eight-game cushion over Seattle in the AL West.

Aaron Laffey (3-1) beat Jered Weaver (11-7) with four innings of scoreless help from three Cleveland relievers.

Twins 5, White Sox 2

At Chicago, Johan Santana (15-11) struck out 10 in seven innings and Jason Kubel hit a three-run homer off Jon Garland (9-11). Joe Nathan earned his 30th save for Minnesota, which snapped a six-game skid.

Jim Thome hit his 498th career home run for the White Sox, who have lost 20 of 27 and are guaranteed their first losing season since 1999.

Devil Rays 3, Blue Jays 2

Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena hit consecutive homers in the sixth inning and James Shields (12-8) allowed four hits through seven.

Al Reyes got 23rd save for host Tampa Bay, which has won four straight series for the first time since winning six in a row in June 2004. The last-place Devil Rays are 12-4 since Aug. 24.

Rangers 12, Athletics 9

Sammy Sosa hit a three-run homer to cap an eight-run second inning, then drove in another run as the host Rangers completed a three-game sweep.

It was Sosa's 607th career homer and 19th of the season. The Rangers have won five straight to tie Oakland for third place in the AL West. Nick Swisher homered twice for the slumping A's, who lost for the 11th time in 15 games. The game included two rain delays and ended more than five hours after it started.