A-Rod gets a mulligan for homer No. 661

You remember the old adage — if at first you don’t succeed try, try again. That applied to Alex Rodriguez Thursday night against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium where in his second at-bat he moved ahead of Willie Mays on the career home run list with No. 661.

That the blow came off Baltimore pitcher Chris Tillman should not be surprising. Rodriguez entered the game 5-for-10 (.500) with three home runs in his career against the righthander. And A-Rod nearly hit his 661st home run off Tillman in the first inning.

After Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner did their customary bit of getting on base with singles, Rodriguez stepped in and hit a drive to deep right field. As fans prepared to cheer what seemed to be a home run, right fielder Delmon Young timed his leap perfectly and caught the ball at the top of the wall. The potential three-run home run instead became a sacrifice fly that tied the score. The Yanks made it 2-1 on a rare single by Mark Teixeira that scored Gardner.

Rodriguez got another chance against Tillman in the third with two out and the score 2-2. This time no outfielder could glove A-Rod’s drive off a 1-1 pitch from Tillman. The ball landed just to the left of Monument Park in left-center field. Teixeira delayed his at-bat so that Rodriguez could make a curtain call to acknowledge the fans’ standing ovation.

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