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A-Rod passes McGwire with first HR of '10

A-Rod passes McGwire with first HR of '10

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez was hearing it from teammates. The second baseman already had four. The new guy in center had two. The captain had two.

When was the cleanup hitter finally going to hit a home run?

Rodriguez's relatively brief but personally interminable home run drought to start the season lasted 41 at-bats and into the fourth inning of the Yankees' 11th game, a 7-3 win over the Rangers. That's when he took Rangers reliever Doug Mathis out into right-center field for his first long ball of the season.

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More importantly, it was the 584th of his career, surpassing the total of Mark McGwire and pushing Rodriguez into sole possession of eighth on the all-time home run list. Frank Robinson is next up on the list at 586.

"It feels good to keep moving up the line," Rodriguez said. "Long after I'm playing, I'll have a chance to reflect on that. Right now, the focus is on winning."

As has been the case with most of his home run milestones, Rodriguez is significantly younger than anyone to reach 584 home runs before. Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Sammy Sosa all got there at the age of 36; Rodriguez is 34.

"The fact that he's been able to do so many things at such a young age and what he still has time to accomplish," said Curtis Granderson with a shake of the head, "it's amazing."

Rodriguez probably has the best chance to pass Robinson and move into seventh all-time next weekend. The Yankees finish up a series at home with the Rangers on Sunday before traveling to Oakland and Anaheim. In his career, whereas Rodriguez has hit a home run once every 17.9 at-bats in Oakland, he's belted one once every 9.4 at-bats at Edison Field. His 67 career homers against the Angels are the most by any current player against one team in the Major Leagues.

At the same time, it might not take until next weekend. Before Saturday's game, manager Joe Girardi referred to Rodriguez as someone who can hit five long balls in a week. And after the game, Rodriguez delivered bad news to upcoming opponents.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "I'm getting into a groove a little bit."

Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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