A-Rod extends record with 25th grand slam
Yankees star provides lead in seventh with 25th homer of season, snaps 72 at-bat drought
NEW YORK -- It was just a couple of days ago that Alex Rodriguez commented about feeling "terrible" at the plate, sprinkling in an even more colorful word for emphasis. Perhaps something about seeing the bases loaded clicked the Yankees slugger back into form.
Rodriguez rose to the occasion in the seventh inning on Tuesday, extending his Major League record with his 25th career grand slam. The go-ahead blast helped lift the Yankees to an 8-4 victory over the Twins and marked Rodriguez's first homer in 72 at-bats, a drought that he said was not wearing on him.
"It never has bothered me," Rodriguez said. "What's bothered me is when you have poor at-bats and when you chase, when you're not being productive and helping the team win. I think when you hit a lot of home runs they come in bunches. Sometimes there's droughts. I just went through one."
Rodriguez hadn't cleared the fences since his 40th birthday on July 27, and was in a 1-for-27 skid when he stepped in against Minnesota J.R. Graham, who inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam from Ryan O'Rourke. Rodriguez unloaded the bags, dispatching a 95-mph fastball into the Yanks' bullpen.
Saying that he has "been through a lot," an allusion to last year's season-long suspension, Rodriguez said that he has been feeling more comfortable in high-pressure situations. Yanks manager Joe Girardi hopes that the slam will be a sign of good things to come.
"I think it gets you going," Girardi said. "Sometimes it can get you going again. Even though these guys are great players, when you're going through a tough time, a little success helps. They're called 'personality hits.' They can help a little bit."
Rodriguez has hit 25 homers this year, but it was his first slam since Sept. 20, 2013, off the Giants' George Kontos.
After launching what was projected by Statcast™ to be a 420-foot blast from home plate Tuesday, Rodriguez looked into the Yankees' dugout and grinned, then was summoned for a curtain call by the crowd of 38,007.
"I've been stinking up the joint here for about three weeks now," Rodriguez said. "That one felt good. I know that with our bullpen, that means a lot."