NEW YORK -- One of the Yankees' most prolific hitters, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez entered Wednesday's 8-3 win over the Royals batting .276 and slugging just .404, with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .773. The third baseman had just five home runs and 15 RBIs this season, and he had gone homerless and recorded only one RBI since May 6.
But Rodriguez put his early-season frustrations in the past -- temporarily, at least -- with two homers in the first three innings off Royals rookie Will Smith. The first was a two-run drive to left field, and the second was a solo shot to center field that gave the slugger his 60th career multihomer game.
Before the game, manager Joe Girardi said he thinks Rodriguez has fallen victim to some bad luck, and that A-Rod has still been hitting the ball hard. Rodriguez, who went 1-for-4 and was hit by a pitch on Tuesday, stole second when he reached on a single in the fourth inning.
"That's what Alex does," Girardi said. "He's a complete player. He's very heads-up, he's very smart and he knows how to play the game. If he sees the little opening they're going to give you, he's going to take advantage of it."
Rodriguez also put away the Royals in the ninth inning, throwing out Alcides Escobar at first on a play that nearly pushed home the tying run.
As far as the hitting goes, Girardi is not ready to give up on Rodriguez.
"He can get on a streak, and if he gets on a streak, he can carry you," Girardi said. "And if he feels good, that's a good sign for us."