|Rodriguez homers as Yankees fall to Cleveland|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 09 October 2007 00:43|
It was a familiar scene for the talented slugger, and possibly one of the final images from his time in pinstripes.
A-Rod hit his first homer in the playoffs since 2004, but the Indians beat the Yankees 6-4 Monday night to advance to the American League championship series.
Likely to pick up his third MVP award this year, Rodriguez still hasn't made it to the World Series, in part because of his October struggles.
``One of the reasons I came here was to help this team win a world championship,'' Rodriguez said. ``I have failed at that. Without a championship, everything else is just numbers.''
Rodriguez went 4-for-15 (.267) against Cleveland. He is mired in an 8-for-59 (.136) playoff spiral dating to his Game 4 home run against Boston in the 2004 ALCS.
New York's biggest bopper is hitless in his last 18 playoff at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Rodriguez hit a solo homer to left off Rafael Perez in the seventh, cutting it to 6-3 and ending a streak of 57 postseason at-bats without an RBI. He also had a one-out single in the fifth.
Rodriguez can opt out of his record $252 million, 10-year contract after the World Series and seek even more money in the free-agent market. He said he hasn't thought about his decision, and general manager Brian Cashman didn't have much to say, either.
``We'll all find out soon enough on all these things,'' Cashman said. ``That's all for another day.''
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner predicted A-Rod will stay in the Bronx, according to a published report Sunday, but the Boss was likely looking for more from the slugger than he delivered against the Indians.
Rodriguez went 0-for-6, struck out three times and stranded four runners as the Indians won the first two games of the series in Cleveland. He looked better Sunday, going 2-for-4 and scoring a run in New York's 8-4 win in Game 3.
One night later, he got off to a slow start. With runners on first and second in the first inning, Rodriguez struck out on three pitches against Paul Byrd. He looked at a called third strike leading off the third, once again going down on just three pitches.
The Yankee Stadium crowd, all too familiar with A-Rod's postseason doldrums, booed as the All-Star third baseman retreated to the dugout after fanning for the second time.
In the ninth, Rodriguez flied to right for the second out and Jorge Posada struck out to end the game.
Hitless in his last 27 postseason at-bats with any runners on base, A-Rod is certain to again face some criticism after his up-and-down postseason.
Still, the Yankees probably would've fallen short of the playoffs without his huge regular season.
``This is the most courageous group of players I've ever played with,'' he said.
Rodriguez had 54 homers and 156 RBIs this year. From the seventh inning on, he batted .349.