NEW YORK » Alex Rodriguez passed Willie Mays for fourth place on the career homer list, connecting for No.661 Thursday night an at-bat after he was robbed of the milestone drive by a leaping catch.
The New York Yankees star hit a liner off Baltimore’s Chris Tillman into a secure area just to the left of Monument Park in center field in the third inning. A-Rod sent a soaring shot in the first that Delmon Young caught by reaching over the top of the wall in right field.
Next up for Rodriguez: Babe Ruth at 714 home runs.
The Yankees, who said they will not pay a $6 million bonus after he matched the Say Hey Kid on Friday in Boston, put a message on the main videoboard saying, "661 Home Runs. Alex Rodriguez just surpassed Willie Mays for sole possession of 4th place on baseball’s all-time home runs list."
The slugger pumped his fist as he rounded first base, and fans gave Rodriguez a standing ovation.
Mark Teixeira stepped out of the batter’s box as the cheers swelled. Rodriguez briefly emerged from the dugout and waved to the crowd with both hands above his head.
Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, moved into a tie for fourth in the AL this season with seven home runs. He didn’t play last year while serving a drug suspension.
The Yankees and A-Rod have a marketing agreement that calls for $6 million each for up to five achievements, payable within 15 days of designation by the team. But New York has said the marketing possibilities were ruined after Rodriguez served his performance-enhancing drug penalty for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
The accomplishments were contemplated to be homers 660, 714, 755 (Hank Aaron), 762 (Barry Bonds) and 763 as he moved up baseball’s list.
No payment likely would trigger a grievance on Rodriguez’s behalf by the players’ union. Without a settlement, the case would be heard by an arbitrator.