A-Rod hits home run No. 600

(AP) - Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player to hit600 home runs Wednesday, reaching the milestone after a 12-gamedrought - and exactly three years to the day after his 500th homer- with a drive off Toronto's Shaun Marcum in the first inning atYankee Stadium. Rodriguez's 17th homer of the season sailed over thecenter-field wall and landed in Monument Park, allowing a stadiumworker to fetch him the ball. He raised a hand slightly in triumph as he rounded first base,then completed his trot. He joined an elite club that includesBarry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays(660), Ken Griffey Jr. (630) and Sammy Sosa (609). After coming out for a curtain call, Rodriguez receivedcongratulations from teammates in the Yankees dugout. Many hadraised their arms in joy when he finally connected. The milestone homer provided a lift during a trying stretch forthe Yankees. Not only have they watched the Tampa Bay Rays passthem for first place in the AL East, off the field they are stillmourning the recent loss of owner George Steinbrenner, belovedpublic-address announcer Bob Sheppard and former manager RalphHouk. Despite saying he's been more relaxed than he was when tryingfor his 500th homer, the Yankees slugger went 9 for 46 afterhomering on July 22, the longest stretch between Nos. 599 and 600for any of the seven to reach the mark. Mays was next at 21at-bats, according to STATS LLC. Rodriguez went 28 without a homerun before 500. A-Rod turned 35 last Tuesday, putting his home run pace farahead of the rest. Ruth had been the youngest to hit 600, reachingthe mark in 1931 at 36 years, 196 days. The Sultan of Swat did itin fewer games, though - 2,044 to 2,227 for Rodriguez.

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