A-Rod scores 2,000th run in latest milestone
Eighth to reach plateau, Yanks star joins Aaron as only players with 3,000 hits, 2,000 RBIs and 2,000 runs
NEW YORK -- Continuing a season that has surmounted even the most modest expectations, on Thursday night in the Yankees' crucial 3-2 win over the White Sox, Alex Rodriguez became the eighth player in Major League history to score 2,000 runs.
The latest milestone puts him in even more rarified air than that.
With 686 homers, 3,063 hits, 2,052 RBIs and the 2,000 runs scored, Rodriguez became only the second player in Major League Baseball history to amass at least 3,000 hits, 2,000 RBIs and 2,000 runs scored.
Hank Aaron is the other. The Hammer had 755 homers, 3,771 hits, 2,174 runs scored and the all-time mark of 2,297 RBIs.
Rodriguez surpassed the 2,000-run, 2,000-RBI and 3,000-hit marks all this year in his comeback season from a year-long suspension and recent surgeries on both hips. Even more than anybody, A-Rod had no idea how he might perform.
"I'm extremely grateful and happy just to have a chance to play," Rodriguez said after the game, "and happy and grateful that I've been able to stay healthy."
During a season of surpassing milestones, A-Rod also passed Willie Mays and his 660 homers for fourth place on that list May 7.
"You know, it's been a remarkable run, I've had such a good time," he added. "You've known me since I came up as a kid in Seattle with Ken Griffey Jr. I've been grateful to play with such incredible people, some incredible players. You think about RBIs and runs, they're team statistics. You can't do them without great teammates. Hopefully they added up to a lot of wins and it's something I'll be able to think about when I'm way gone."
With two more years to go on his contract, the run is hardly over.
Rodriguez, 40 and finishing his 21st season, will almost certainly surpass the 700-homer plateau next year, when he'll also have a chance to chase Babe Ruth at 714 for third on the all-time list behind Barry Bonds, at 762, and Aaron.
Rickey Henderson, the all-time leader with 2,295 runs scored, is also within reach. So is Aaron's 2,297 RBIs. Pete Rose, at 4,256 hits, is not.
Rodriguez scored the milestone run quietly after White Sox left-hander Chris Sale walked him with one out in the third inning, putting runners on first and second. He came around when Carlos Beltran belted a three-run homer on a liner into the left-field seats at Yankee Stadium, his 18th of the season.
Beltran, who has now hit two game-winning, three-run homers in the last six games, said he's been in awe watching Rodriguez play this season.
"It's been great," Beltran said. "Seeing a guy like A-Rod put up those kinds of numbers has been really amazing."
Despite all of this, A-Rod is in a slump right now and is having a tough month of September. He's hit two homers and knocked in just five runs since Sept. 8, has zeros in both categories since Sept. 16, and is 2-for-23 since that latter date.
For September, he's hitting .217 (15-for-69) with six homers, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored, following a .153 (13-for-85) month of August.
For his part, Rodriguez said he feels like he's just a swing away from breaking out.
"I really feel good about the way I was able to swing the bat tonight," he said. "Sometimes when you get your pitches to hit, you can't miss them. I'm taking good swings, and I'm either fouling them off or popping them up. But I feel pretty good."
Nevertheless, overall, A-Rod is hitting .251 with 32 homers, 83 RBIs, 81 runs scored and an .847 OPS in just his first season as a full-time designated hitter.
In part because of those contributions, the Yanks are three games behind the first-place Blue Jays in the American League East with 10 games left to play. They also hold a comfortable 4 1/2-game lead over Houston for the AL's first Wild Card spot.
If things hold as they are now, the Yanks would host the Astros in the Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 6 (ESPN).
The Yankees wouldn't have made it this far without A-Rod's production.
"No, he's been huge to our lineup," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I've said that all year long. The best thing is he's earned it. He's been big, and he's been big in that clubhouse, too."
To that point, Chase Headley, the guy who replaced Rodriguez at third base, said he's never had a more prolific or positive teammate.
"I can't even consider anyone a close second," said Headley, who came over in a trade from the Padres last year and signed as a free agent during the offseason. "That's nothing against the other guys. From the outset when I signed, A-Rod gave me a call and said, 'Congratulations.'
"He told me not to worry. 'However this shakes out, I want to win. I'm in your corner.'"
The wins keep piling up. The Yankees already have 84 of them, as many as they had all last season. And so are the A-Rod milestones -- with many more of them yet to come.