Kyle Davies barely had time to blink at the sea of flashbulbs going off around him before he became forever linked to Alex Rodriguez. With two on and one out in the bottom of the first inning, Rodriguez deposited Davies’ first pitch of the at-bat deep in the left field seats for a milestone home run.
That was August 4, 2007 at the Old Yankee Stadium and home run No. 500. During his Saturday start for Kansas City, Davies has a chance for Déjà vu all over again as Rodriguez continues his quest for No. 600.
“It’s not facing him,” Davies said before Friday’s game. “I’ve pitched well five straight starts and I want to continue that trend. We want to win the game. I don’t care if I give up 600, 601, 602. If we end up winning the game 4-3, I won.”
Davies is 4-6 with a 5.45 ERA this season, though he’s had three consecutive quality starts. In two career games against him, Rodriguez is 3-for-5 with a double, home run and three RBIs.
Davies said he didn’t really think too much about the 500th home run when it happened.
“I think more of the memories came from the first time pitching in Yankee Stadium, first time being with the Royals,” he said. “I know it was really loud, I know we had to change the baseballs. I only knew he hit a home run.”
Considering milestones is something for after a game.
“The game has been around for a long time and there’s thousands of guys who hit home runs, so it is part of the game,” Davies said. “Whether it be his 500th, 600th or 1500th to be honest with you.
“You don’t ever notice it in the middle of the game. Like afterwards you look at the tape, ‘oh look at all the flashbulbs going off.’ And you know it’s a little bit louder than usual, but other than that, you’re more focused on what you go to do and that’s trying to get the guy out.”
Aside from saying “just don’t give it up,” Royals manager Ned Yost offered a response worthy of Casey Stengal when asked how Davies can avoid being a part of history twice.
“We know what we want to do to each hitter in their lineup,” Yost said. “Now, knowing what you’re going to want to do and executing it are two different things. So what he has to do is execute what he knows he wants to do.”