NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez had joked hours before that he may never knock one out of the park this season. Perhaps 41 straight at-bats without a homer can shake the faith of even the best long-ball hitters.
But because of one slipup by Rangers RHP Doug Mathis, Rodriguez no longer has to entertain such thoughts.
The Yankees third baseman drilled a 2-and-1 pitch over the right-centerfield fence in the fourth inning of Saturday's 7-3 win over the Rangers, his first home run of the season and the 584th of his career to surpass Mark McGwire for sole possession of eighth place all time.
Rodriguez sauntered into the clubhouse after the game, seemingly unfazed by the throng of cameras lurking by his locker. He spoke matter-of-factly about his feat, refusing to get caught up in the moment.
"It was exciting to get one over the fence," said Rodriguez, who told reporters he was unaware that he had passed McGwire until five minutes before he addressed them.
He didn't dwell on the milestone.
"It feels good to keep moving up the line," Rodriguez said. "I think there'll be a time and a place for reflection, and that will be many years after I'm done playing."
METS RALLY BEHIND MANAGER: A day after a report claimed that several Mets players were upset with manager Jerry Manuel, RF Jeff Francoeur said there was nothing to it. "We're behind Jerry 110 percent," Francoeur said.
CUBS: RHP Tom Gorzelanny expects to make his next start after leaving against the Astros in the third inning after being hit by Pedro Feliz's line drive. Gorzelanny sustained a bruised left arm.
INDIANS: Closer Kerry Wood, out since spring training with a sore back, threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session. "He looked great," manager Manny Acta said of the right-hander.
ORIOLES: 2B Brian Roberts has responded well to an epidural injection he received in his back on March 12, the team said. Roberts is on the disabled list with a herniated disc. … 3B Miguel Tejada left the game against the A's with an apparent groin injury after sliding headfirst into first base in the sixth.
PIRATES: RHP Ross Ohlendorf went on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms. RHP Daniel McCutchen was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace him in the rotation.
REDS: Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman had a wild outing for Triple-A Louisville, walking four and striking out one while allowing one run and one hit in five innings of a 3-1 loss to Columbus. The left-hander was clocked twice at 100 mph.
ROYALS: 3B Alex Gordon, who was rehabilitating a broken right thumb, was activated. 2B Chris Getz went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle.
TWINS: LH reliever Jose Mijares went on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left elbow. RH reliever Alex Burnett was recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
WHITE SOX: RHP Freddy Garcia, who has an 8.10 ERA in two outings, will have his next start skipped. "It's just a break," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He's not out of the rotation."