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RODRIGUEZ THE 500 KID

Alex Rodriguez leaned right and watched the ball as it sailed toward the foul pole in left. When it stayed true, he threw up his hands: The long wait for No. 500 was finally over.

Rodriguez became the youngest player to hit 500 home runs, connecting on the first pitch he saw Saturday to end a 10-day wait, in the Yankees' 16-8 win over the Royals.

"I acted like a goofball running around the bases, but you only hit 500 once," he said.

Rodriguez stood at home plate for a second after his first-inning drive off Kyle Davies, waiting to see if it would stay fair. Yankees manager Joe Torre pointed to the foul pole as he saw it soar into the seats.

"I didn't know if it was going to be fair or foul. I was so relieved it stayed fair," Rodriguez said. "I hadn't hit one in so long."

A-Rod trotted around the bases with a wide grin as the sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium cheered wildly.

He hugged Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu, who scored on the landmark home run, and blew a kiss toward the stands after completing his trip around the bases. His teammates were already on the field, and he embraced several on his way back to the bench.

"I was a little embarrassed. I felt like we were in high school. All the guys coming out to shake my hand in the first inning," he said.

Rodriguez homered eight days after his 32nd birthday and passed Jimmie Foxx (32 years, 338 days) as the youngest player to reach 500. He is the 22nd player to reach the mark, the second this season behind Frank Thomas. Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome might get there this year, too.

Rodriguez leads the majors with 36 home runs, one more than he hit last season.

"His prime years are ahead of him, basically," Torre said. "This is a stopoff for him. It's not a destination."

NOTABLE: Robinson Cano tied a career high with four hits and Abreu scored four runs for New York, which has won five of six to improve to a season-best 10 games over .500.

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