CLEVELAND - Maybe the celebration, the one for a historic home run, will take place on his birthday.
Alex Rodriguez made it four straight games without No. 600 last night in the Yankees' 3-2 win over the Indians in front of 27,224 at Progressive Field, and he'll give it another try tonight, the same day he turns 35.
"I think the biggest thing for us is I'd rather not hit a home run and win than hit a home run and lose," Rodriguez said afterward.
And the Yankees did win because of the long ball. Two of their four hits off Indians starter Jake Westbrook (6-7) were homers - Nick Swisher's 18th, which tied it at 1 in the fourth inning, and Curtis Granderson's 10th, a two-run blast in the eighth that made it 3-2 and gave him three homers in two games.
"Hopefully, this is a sign of good things to come," said Granderson, who has struggled much of the season.
Javier Vazquez (9-7) was outstanding, allowing two runs, five hits and three walks in seven-plus innings, as the Yankees moved a season-high 28 games over .500 at 63-35. They remained three games ahead of the Rays, who won behind Matt Garza's no-hitter, the first in franchise history.
Manager Joe Girardi, who said before the game he was "leaning toward" bringing in Joba Chamberlain as his eighth-inning guy should the situation arise, instead called on David Robertson after Vazquez walked Michael Brantley to lead off the eighth. Robertson induced a double play and Boone Logan struck out Shin-Soo Choo, whose RBI double in the sixth had given the Indians (41-58) a 2-1 lead.
Mariano Rivera allowed a leadoff single in the ninth to Carlos Santana - the Indians' first single of the game after four doubles and a home run - but retired the next three batters to earn his 21st save. Travis Hafner's tapper back to Rivera moved Santana into scoring position, but Jhonny Peralta grounded to third and Matt LaPorta grounded to second to end it.
Rodriguez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. His best-hit ball was a sinking liner to leftfield that resulted in a questionable double play in the fourth. Trevor Crowe appeared to short-hop the ball but was ruled to have caught it.
Rodriguez, who left Sunday's game after getting hit in the left wrist by a pitch in the eighth, entered last night 6-for-13 with two doubles and four RBIs since hitting No. 599 Thursday against the Royals. This has not been a player pressing for 600, and he thought he chased only one ball out of the zone last night, a first-inning slider.
"The key for me is swing at strikes, not try to do too much," he said. "I'm not really concerned about it. It's going to come whether it's this week or next week or next month. At some point it will come. The important thing for me is to stay within the game."
A-Rod went 0-for-3 against Westbrook, against whom he hit homer No. 472 April 17, 2007, at the Stadium, and had a fourth at-bat, in the ninth against Chris Perez. With flashbulbs popping, Rodriguez, booed before each at-bat, popped to first.
"I thought they were good," Girardi said of A-Rod's at-bats. "I thought he swung the bat pretty well."
Vazquez, who allowed Hafner's homer in the second and fell behind 2-1 on Choo's double in the sixth, entered with the least amount of run support among Yankees starters, 4.24 runs per game. He won without getting even that much but wasn't complaining, especially after Granderson's shot. "That was clutch," he said. "To see that home run, that was good to see."