Rodriguez taking a day off from home run chase

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Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is just one home run away from 600 for his career.  Actually, he’s been one home run away from 600 for 37 at-bats now.  And he’s unlikely to reach the milestone Sunday.

According to Erik Boland of Newsday, A-Rod is not in the Yankees’ lineup this afternoon against Rays right-hander James Shields despite a tight race at the top of the American League East standings. 

Perhaps manager Joe Girardi has noticed that his third baseman is pressing.  Rodriguez told the Newark Star-Ledger’s Marc Carig on Saturday that it might take him a while to get that elusive home run, so he’s clearly been bothered by the pressure.

“There’s no question, the way I’m swinging it, it’s probably going to take awhile,” A-Rod said with a laugh. “Everybody get comfortable.”

Rodriguez is 8-for-37 since hitting home run No. 599 on July 22 and his batting average has dropped five points.  He has averaged a home run per every 14.5 at-bats for his career and has averaged a long-ball every 23.4 at-bats this season.  If this power drought lasts any longer, the coverage could get very annoying.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.