After Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th home run Thursday night, the pressure on him to hit No. 600 built steadily during the weekend series against Kansas City. But it was rookie Blake Wood who found himself in the most pressure-packed situation Sunday when he faced A-Rod with the bases loaded, one out in the eighth and Yankees fans hungry for a milestone.
After brushing back Rodriguez with his second pitch, Wood drilled him on the left wrist with his fourth pitch, a 95-mph fastball that he said got away from him. Manager Ned Yost immediately took Wood out of the game.
After the Yankees' 12-6 victory, Wood, 24, looked uncomfortable as he sat in front of his locker. When he was asked about the at-bat, beads of sweat appeared on his forehead.
Wood said he wanted to jam A-Rod. "With him, I'm just trying to get a double play, trying to run it in on his hands," he said.
When asked if he was shaken after hitting him, Wood looked morose. "I wasn't happy with what happened, obviously," he said. "You know, I've just got to get better."
Wood entered the eighth with the Royals down 7-5, and the Yankees loaded the bases with one out. He surrendered a two-run single to Nick Swisher that put the Yankees up 9-5, and Mark Teixeira singled to right to load the bases for Rodriguez. The hit batsman made it 10-5 and gave A-Rod three runs batted in, and Robinson Cano followed with a two-run double off Victor Marte.
The fans who waited through a rain delay of 2 hours, 32 minutes had hoped to see Rodriguez become the seventh player to hit 600 career home runs. Instead, they gasped when Wood's pitch left him facedown in the dirt. Then they let Wood have it with a rain of boos. But Rodriguez said he's OK and expects to play tonight.