Alex Rodriguez hits 659th career home run, now one shy of tying Willie Mays

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Alex Rodriguez drove a Jon Niese offering to right-center field in the bottom of the first inning of Sunday night’s series finale against the Mets at Yankee Stadium. It was a solo home run to cut the Mets’ lead in half.

Rodriguez now has 659 career home runs, leaving him one shy of tying Willie Mays for fourth on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard. Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees includes a $30 million marketing agreement, which calls for Rodriguez to be paid $6 million for each of five milestone home runs. The first of those five milestone home runs is 660, followed by 714 (tying Babe Ruth), 755 (tying Hank Aaron), 762 (tying Barry Bonds), and 763. The Yankees are expected to take legal action to avoid paying Rodriguez, who was suspended for the entire 2014 season for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, by claiming that his home runs are no longer marketable.

Our own Craig Calcaterra went over the upcoming legal battle earlier this week.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.