No. 631 moves A-Rod past Griffey into fifth

No. 631 moves A-Rod past Griffey into fifth

BOSTON -- Alex Rodriguez hit the 631st home run of his Major League career on Friday, passing Ken Griffey Jr. and claiming sole possession of fifth place on the all-time list.

Rodriguez cleared the Green Monster with a long solo drive off Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz in the fifth inning of New York's 6-2 victory, marking the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park's opening.

"It means I'm getting older, that's for sure -- quickly," Rodriguez said. "Griff was a great friend and a mentor and a great teammate. It's kind of flattering, humbling, when you start being mentioned with some of these great names."

Rodriguez and Griffey played together with the Seattle Mariners, for whom Rodriguez hit 189 of his home runs from 1994-99. Rodriguez hit 156 home runs as a Texas Ranger from 2001-03 and has now clubbed 285 with the Yankees.

The home run was the second of the season for Rodriguez, who will now pursue Willie Mays, who retired with 660 home runs. On the all-time list, Mays is below Babe Ruth (714), Henry Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762).

"The coolest thing about our situation here is that every game -- every swing -- means something for our team," Rodriguez said. "We have much bigger goals around here than trying to chase history or chase record books. But obviously, when you talk about names like Willie Mays, when the time comes, that's a pretty great name."

They will prove to be especially valuable milestones for Rodriguez to track. As part of the contract that Rodriguez signed with the Yankees after the 2007 season, he can earn incentives of $6 million for tying each of those players' totals.

Rodriguez would receive another $6 million bonus if he eventually becomes the all-time home run leader himself, earning a total of $30 million in possible incentives.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.