DETROIT -- Alex Rodriguez wanted the world to know he still had it, that even on the biggest of stages, in the bleakest of situations, he still could deliver the big hit.
The Yankees third baseman even scoffed Monday night at inquiries about his All-Star swing deserting him at the worst possible time. He was smooth as butter as he tried to quell the concern over his offensive struggles -- and those of Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher -- with his team on the brink of elimination.
"Every time, every time, every time," Rodriguez repeated when asked if he still thinks he can come through in a big spot after the Yankees' Game 3 loss to the Tigers. "I don't wanna say bet on me, but no question."
Well, there was no bigger moment this season than Tuesday night -- a critical Game 4 in the hands of the unpredictable A.J. Burnett. And Rodriguez finally came through -- somewhat.
After going 0-for-10 in the first three games, A-Rod went 2-for-4 and had a sacrifice fly Tuesday night.
A-Rod was not the only Yankee who had been disappointing in the postseason. Teixeira and Swisher also have not produced as they have in the regular season.
In the fifth, however, Rodriguez put the Yankees up 4-1 with a sacrifice fly that scored Jeter.
Before the game, Joe Girardi continued to shrug off his players' offensive struggles, refusing to put too much emphasis on just a few, albeit important, games.
"These guys are All-Stars. These guys have been superstars," he said of Rodriguez and Teixeira. "It's not like they've been platoon players or they haven't performed in the past. I think you have to be patient with your players. When you don't show confidence in them, I think it can reflect in their performance. I do.
"As I said, two games doesn't make anything, three games -- a guy goes 3-for-4 and then you're going to move him again? You can move guys all the time. The other thing people forget is, you're facing the best pitchers in baseball right now. Teams in the playoffs usually have the better stats."
But their paltry batting averages in the postseason nevertheless are startling. Teixeira's career postseason average is .203. He is just 2-for-15 (.133) with a walk in the series after going 1-for-4 Tuesday night. He stepped to the plate twice with runners on base in Game 3 and lined out and popped out.
Swisher went 1-for-4 but still has a career postseason average of only .167.
But Rodriguez cautioned against reading too much into statistics.
"I think we can win no matter what," said Rodriguez, who is a career .282 hitter in the postseason. "You've got to throw statistics out the window in the playoffs.
"The only statistic that matters is winning games. And I think both Tex and I are prepared for big at-bats. And I think that's what the playoffs are all about: a few key moments, a few key at-bats and when those at-bats come, we'll be ready."