A-Rod hits 599th homer, Yankees beat Royals 10-4

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez follows through on a solo home run as Kansas City Royals catcher Jason Kendall and home plate umpire Eric Cooper look on in the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 22, 2010, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The homer was Rodriguez's 599th of his career. / AP Photo

NEW YORK (AP) " Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th home run, Derek Jeter had an inside-the-park shot and the New York Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 10-4 Thursday on a strange night in the Bronx.

Jorge Posada had a go-ahead double and a bizarre throwing error that cost New York a run and put Yuniesky Betancourt on second after striking out. But the Yankees rebounded to help CC Sabathia (13-3) win his ninth straight decision.

Rodriguez, who had four RBIs, hit a solo homer to right field in the seventh inning, putting New York ahead 6-4 and leaving him one shy of becoming the seventh major league player to reach 600.

The slugger connected on an 0-2 pitch from reliever Robinson Tejeda for his 16th home run of the season. A-Rod came up again with a chance for No. 600 in the eighth, but he smacked an RBI double to right-center and was pulled for a pinch runner.

The three-time AL MVP, who turns 35 on Tuesday, is closing in on becoming the youngest player to reach the 600-homer milestone. Before last season, he admitted using steroids from 2001-03 with Texas.

Rodriguez hit No. 598 on Sunday against Tampa Bay, but Kansas City has been a favorite opponent. He hit career homer No. 1 (in June 1995) and No. 500 (in August 2007) against the Royals.

Jeter's deep drive in the third off Bruce Chen (5-4) settled in center fielder David DeJesus' glove, but he ran into the padding on the fence in front of the Yankees' bullpen in right-center with his arm extended in front of him. His glove and wrist twisted back and the ball popped out as DeJesus fell.

Jeter motored home for his second career inside-the-park home run, tying the game at 3. His first came Aug. 2, 1996, his rookie season.

DeJesus sprained his thumb on the play and was replaced immediately by Rick Ankiel, who came off the disabled list earlier Thursday. The Royals said DeJesus would miss the rest of the four-game series.

Sabathia gave up 11 hits and four runs, three earned, in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out nine and walked four with a balk and a wild pitch.

Chen gave up five runs and nine hits in six innings.

Kansas City lost despite having 14 hits, five walks and a pair of successful double steals. The Royals left a season-high 14 on base.

In the fifth, Posada went to third on a wild pitch following his RBI double, then came home on Marcus Thames' sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.

That extra run proved critical when the Royals got an unearned run on a bizarre play in the sixth.

With one out and Willie Bloomquist on third following a double and a balk, Posada blocked a wild pitch that was the third strike to Betancourt. Standing in front of the plate, he saw Bloomquist off the bag and tried to get him, even though there was time to throw to first.

The throw was wide and Bloomquist came home while Betancourt wound up on second. It was scored a strikeout and a wild pitch, with an error on Posada that allowed the run to score and Betancourt to advance.

Joba Chamberlain loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but retired Jose Guillen on a bouncer to shortstop to keep it 6-4.

Nick Swisher added a two-run double in the eighth, Mark Teixeira followed with a run-scoring single and A-Rod made it 10-4 with a double.

The Royals went up 2-0 in the first, but the Yankees tied it in the bottom half when Rodriguez blooped a two-run double.

In the fifth, Kansas City's Billy Butler was called out by plate umpire Eric Cooper when he tried to score on Wilson Betemit's single to left field. Brett Gardner's throw to Posada was in time, though replays showed Posada missed the tag.

Notes: The Yankees put up a tribute to late owner George Steinbrenner on the wall behind the right-field bleachers. A banner with his portrait, name, dates and "THE BOSS" covered the wall where the team listed its championship years. ... Teixeira reached base safely for the 38th straight game with his first-inning double. ... Kansas City led the majors with a .281 batting average entering the game. ... Posada nearly had another odd error, when he retired Betancourt to end the seventh following a strikeout. The catcher's looping throw to first nearly let Betancourt reach.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.