ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.(AP)
hit a three-run homer on his first swing of the season and smacked a grand slam on his last. The
New York Yankees
slugger was pretty impressive in between, too.
Setting what he hopes will be the tone for a successful playoff run, Rodriguez homered twice and drove in an AL-record seven
runs in a 10-run sixth inning Sunday, helping the AL East champions finish the regular season with a 10-2 victory over the
Tampa Bay Rays
''We have one goal and it's to win 11 games,'' he said, looking ahead to the postseason. ''If we get to 11 wins, that's means
we're going to get contributions from everyone.''
On this day, he was a one-man wrecking crew.
Rodriguez hit a three-run homer off
, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead. He added his 18th career grand slam later in the inning after
issued an intentional walk to league co-home run champion
to load the bases.
''It was awesome. That was a great inning for him and for the team,'' Teixiera said. ''It's good to have a nice offensive
output like that the last game of the season and give us some momentum.''
The previous AL record of six RBIs in an inning was accomplished 12 times, most recently by Boston's
on Aug. 12, 2008. The major league record is eight, set by
, who hit two grand slams in an inning for St. Louis on April 23, 1999.
New York, preparing to open the playoffs at home against Detroit or Minnesota on Wednesday or Thursday, finished with a 103-59
record, its best since 103-58 in 2002.
Tampa Bay dropped to 84-78 after going 97-65 last year and reaching the World Series for the first time.
A-Rod moved into a tie with
for eighth on the career list with 583 homers. It also gave him at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs for the 13th time - including
the past 12 seasons - despite missing the first month with a hip injury.
''Unbelievable,'' Yankees manager
said. ''He needed two homers and seven RBIs to keep his streak alive. It's really pretty amazing. That's the player he is.''
A.J. Burnett (13-9) pitched five innings for the victory, enabling the Yankees to avoid a weekend sweep.
, who could be headed for the bullpen for the first round of the playoffs, tossed a perfect inning in relief as Girardi continued
to get the pitching staff ready for the postseason.
Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman will meet Monday to begin discussions on the playoff roster.
A year after making an improbable run to the American League pennant, the Rays finished 19 games behind the Yankees in the
scored both of the runs off Burnett, hitting his 33rd homer in the first and racing home on a passed ball to give Tampa Bay
a 2-0 lead in the fifth.
Rookies Davis (2-2),
combined for 25 wins and are part of the reason the Rays are optimistic about their prospects of returning to the top of the
AL East next year.
''There's no doubt we'll be right back in it, and our goal is to get to the World Series again in 2010. Period,'' Tampa Bay
manager Joe Maddon said. ''Nothing else really matters in regard to our goal-setting.''
Rodriguez was sidelined until May 8 after hip surgery, then homered on the first pitch he saw from Baltimore's
. He began Sunday with 28 homers and 93 RBIs and said the possibility of extending his 30-100 streak didn't cross his mind
until New York batted around in the sixth.
''I just didn't think it was realistic at all, so therefore it wasn't even a goal,'' Rodriguez said.
''I was actually talking to (Eric) Hinske and I said I may have one shot. If they load the bases, I might pop one, you never
know. I was just joking around, then I hit it.''
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner visited with the team for about an hour in the clubhouse before the game and later said
he's ''excited'' about the playoffs, which will start later this week.
The 79-year-old Steinbrenner made the trip to Tropicana Field from his home in nearby Tampa for the second time this season.
He also met with the players before a Yankees win in St. Petersburg on July 29.
''It was really great to see him. He was in good spirits,'' Girardi said. ''Said, 'Just keep it going. Just keep doing what
NOTES: Teixeira and Tampa Bay's
tied for the AL home run title with 39. ... Yankees LHP
wound up earning $10.5 million of the $12 million available under his contract - $500,000 more than the Yankees' original
offer of $10 million guaranteed that he failed to accept. Pettitte had a $5.5 million base salary, earned $3 million based
on innings and $2 million for staying on the active roster the entire season. He missed $750,000 bonuses for 200 and 210 innings,
finishing with 194 2-3. ... The Rays sat All-Stars
. Bartlett finished with a career-best .320 batting average, a team record. Crawford, who batted .305, set the previous mark
of .315 in 2007.