KANSAS CITY - Alex Rodriguez hit career homers No. 602, 603 and 604, leading the New York Yankees to an 8-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals in the third installment of a four-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Rodriguez finished with four hits and drove in five runs for the Yankees, who have taken two of the three games in this series so far. It was the fourth three-homer game of his career and first since April 26, 2005.
Overall, it was the slugger’s second multi-homer game of the season and the 56th of his career.
Curtis Granderson and Jorge Posada also homered for New York, while Phil Hughes (14-5) pitched six innings and allowed three runs on nine hits and a walk without striking out a batter.
Wilson Betemit went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI for the Royals, who have lost six of seven. Sean O’Sullivan (1-4) was dealt the loss after yielding four runs, eight hits and two walks in 5 1/3 frames.
After the Yankees tied the game in the fifth, they used some big swings to build their first lead.
Rodriguez began the sixth inning with a home run to give New York its first lead. Two batters later, Posada homered for a two-run cushion, and Granderson followed him with another blast to make it 4-1.
Betemit drew the Royals one closer in the home half with his fifth home run of the season. Kansas City kept pressing in the inning, loading the bases with nobody out after three straight singles followed the homer. Mitch Maier flied out, but Chris Getz’s groundout plated a runner for a one-run game.
Rodriguez, though, quickly restored the Yankees’ three-run advantage in the seventh, following a Mark Teixeira single with a blast over the wall in center, putting New York ahead, 6-3, on the home run.
Joba Chamberlain induced three consecutive groundouts in the home seventh to keep the Royals down by three, then Boone Logan and David Robertson combined to throw a scoreless eighth.
Rodriguez came up one more time in the ninth and crushed another two-run shot into the fountains in center to account for the final margin.
The Royals got on the board in the opening inning. Hughes retired the first two hitters he faced, but Billy Butler kept the inning alive with a double to left. Betemit followed with an RBI single to center.
O’Sullivan got out of trouble early, striking out Brett Gardner in the second with runners on second and third to end the frame. New York put two runners on in the third with one out, but O’Sullivan retired both Teixeira and Rodriguez to keep the Yankees off the scoreboard.
The visitors finally scored a run in the fifth. Brett Gardner doubled leading off and headed to third on Ramiro Pena’s bunt single. Derek Jeter grounded into a double play, but Gardner scored on the play for a 1-1 game.
O’Sullivan fell to 0-4 since being traded from the Angels to the Royals...The Yankees lead the season series, 5-2...Rodriguez’s last multi-homer game came on July 6. He now has 21 home runs on the season. His four three-homer games are tied with Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramiirez for the most among active players.