After an intentional walk to Mark Teixeira loaded the bases with one out and the score tied in the seventh inning, Alex Rodriguez stepped to the plate and delivered a hit consistent with Sunday's small-ball approach.
It wasn't a monster grand slam or a laser line drive up the middle, but a delicate dribbler that drove in the go-ahead run and continued the Yankees' season-high eight-run inning that fueled a 9-3 win over the Mets at Yankee Stadium.
"I loved it. I was the happiest guy in the stadium," Rodriguez said. "We've been talking about small ball for the last week or two and I don't think it could've gotten any smaller."
Derek Jeter began the seventh-inning scoring with a two-run single that tied it at 3-3, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Curtis Granderson and Tim Byrdak's intentional walk to Teixeira. On his first pitch, Pedro Beato gave up the slow-rolling grounder toward third by A-Rod, who said his only thought was to "run like hell" and beat the throw. But there was no throw.
Rodriguez finished the day 4-for-5, all singles, and is batting .481 (13-for-27) in his last six games. He has had two four-hit games in the last five.
The single in the seventh made Rodriguez 6-for-8 with one walk and 19 RBIs in 10 career plate appearances following an intentional walk to Teixeira.
"It wasn't a grand slam, which we've seen a lot when they walk [Teixeira] to get to Alex with the bases loaded,'' Joe Girardi said. "But it was just as effective in that sense."
"I'm well aware of A-Rod -- who he is, what he is, what he's been and what he'll still be. He's truly one of the great players that has ever played this game. But situations dictate," Collins said. "You try to get out of the inning with a ground ball. So that's why we did it."
When asked his reaction to the intentional walk in front of him, Rodriguez quipped:
"I showed them, didn't I?"
"It doesn't make a difference what it looks like," Jeter said. "A hit's a hit, a run's a run. We're trying to win games. It's a line drive in the book."
But did he or anyone else tease A-Rod about the uncharacteristic hit after the inning? "Nah," he said, pausing to grin. "I wish it would have been me."