Sitting on 599 home runs, Alex Rodriguez drew a walk from Brian Bannister to load the bases in the bottom of the first inning of Friday night’s game against the Royals at Yankee Stadium. Robinson Cano followed by lacing a high fastball into the left-field gap for a bases-clearing double, and Jorge Posada followed with a double into the right-field corner that plated Cano for Posada’s 1,000th career run batted in. Posada is the 11th catcher (and third Yankee catcher after Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra) to reach the 1,000 RBI mark. Of the men ahead of him Lance Parrish (1,070) and Ted Simmons (second to Berra with 1,389) are the only eligible players not in the Hall of Fame.
Posada’s milestone was the only one reached in Friday night’s game, which was effectively over once the Yankees took that 4-0 lead in the first. A.J. Burnett held the Royals scoreless through five innings before an hour and 25-minute rain delay with two outs in the bottom of the fifth ended his, and Bannister’s, evening.
Brett Gardner singled home a pair of runs off reliever Victor Marte in the sixth. Posada picked up RBI 1,001 with a single off lefty Dusty Hughes in the seventh. Only then did the Royals get off the schnide with doubles by the just-activated Rick Ankiel and Yuniesky Betancourt to start the eighth against Chad Gaudin, who had already pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings by that point. Gaudin finished that frame without further damage and Jonathan Albaladejo worked a perfect ninth, striking out two to wrap up the 7-1 Yankee win.
As for Rodriguez, after his first-inning walk, he reached on an infield single in the third, struck out looking in the fifth, and singled in the seventh. With two out in the bottom of the eighth, Dusty Hughes walked Mark Teixeira on four pitches, giving Rodriguez one more chance at number 600, but Rodriguez hit a broken-bat grounder to third on the first pitch. Next up: Saturday’s starter Kyle Davies, who gave up Rodriguez’s 500th home run at the old Stadium in the bottom of the first inning on Saturday, August 4, 2007.