Kyle Davies barely had time to blink at the sea of camera flashes 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 into the leftfield seats for a milestone home run.
That was Aug. 4, 2007, at the old Yankee Stadium, when A-Rod hit home run No. 500. Now, with Davies starting against the Yankees on Saturday, he has a chance for deja vu as Rodriguez continues his quest for No. 600. He has 599.
"It's not facing him," Davies said before Friday night'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. Davies has allowed 12 home runs in 1021/3 innings. In two career games against him, Rodriguez is 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, a walk and three RBIs.
Davies said he didn't really think too much about the 500th homer 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 [a specially marked ball was used when Rodriguez batted]. 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 1,500th, to be honest with you.
"You don't ever notice it in the middle of the game. Like afterward, 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 got to do, and that's trying to get the guy out."
"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."