(Sports Network) -- Alex Rodriguez will be attempting to achieve another milestone in his illustrious career when the New York Yankees superstar takes the field against the visiting Kansas City Royals this evening.
After homering in New York's 10-4 victory in Thursday's opener of this four- game series, Rodriguez is now just one shy of becoming only the seventh player in major league history to hit 600 for his career. The All-Star third baseman added a pair of doubles and knocked in four runs to help the Yankees win for the 12th time in their last 15 games.
"I'm having fun," said Rodriguez after last night's game. "I'm trying to drive in big runs for this team. When I hit [number 600], hopefully it is for a win."
Derek Jeter added an inside-the-park home run, the longtime shortstop's first since 1996, and Nick Swisher delivered a two-RBI double during a four-run eighth inning that broke open a close contest. Both players finished with two hits, while Mark Teixeira ended 3-for-5 with an RBI single to help pace New York's 14-hit attack.
The Yankees' offensive barrage helped offset a somewhat shaky performance from ace CC Sabathia, who was reached for four runs (three earned) and allowed 11 hits over the first 6 1/3 innings. The standout lefty still was able to become the AL's first 13-game winner and struck out nine Kansas City hitters before exiting.
Royals starter Bruce Chen (5-4) surrendered five runs on nine hits in six innings to take the loss. Kansas City supported him with 14 hits on the night, but stranded 14 runners in losing for the eighth time in 10 games.
"Great game for eight innings," said Royals manager Ned Yost. "Bruce battled through some things, grinded it out."
Kansas City made a move prior to Thursday's matchup, trading third baseman Alberto Callaspo to the Angels in exchange for pitcher Sean O'Sullivan and a minor-leaguer. Wilson Betemit took Callaspo's place in the lineup and went 2- for-4 with an RBI.
The Royals were also without David DeJesus for much of last night's game after the center fielder injured himself while attempting to flag down Jeter's homer in the third inning. DeJesus suffered a sprained right thumb when running into the wall and will sit out the remainder of this series.
Brian Bannister will try to stave off Rodriguez's attempt at history when he takes the mound for Kansas City tonight, but may have a tough time doing so. Rodriguez has clubbed three homers in seven lifetime at-bats against the right-hander, who comes in having lost three straight decisions and has allowed four runs or more in each of his past four starts.
Bannister has had his share of struggles against the rest of the New York lineup as well. The 29-year-old owns a horrid 15.07 earned run average in four career starts against the Yankees, with the Bronx Bombers having racked up six homers and 30 hits in 14 1/3 innings over those games. In his most recent encounter with New York, Bannister was torched for 10 runs and 10 hits -- including three homers -- while lasting only one inning in a loss at the old Yankee Stadium on August 17, 2008.
The University of Southern California product has also posted a poor 7.45 ERA along with a 3-7 record in 12 starts at night this season. Bannister's most recent outing came during the day but wasn't a good one either, as he permitted five runs and walked six men in 6 1/3 innings to lose to Oakland last Sunday.
New York's A.J. Burnett will also be seeking to put a forgettable last start behind him this evening. The struggling right-hander threw only two-plus innings against Tampa Bay this past Saturday, but was rocked for four runs on four hits in a 10-5 setback to the Rays. The defeat was the sixth in seven decisions for Burnett, and he's registered a lousy 8.15 ERA over that eight- start stretch.
Burnett didn't help his cause on Saturday by reportedly cutting both his hands while taking out his frustrations on a clubhouse door after finishing the second inning. He sustained only minor injuries during the blowup, though, and will be able to take his regular turn in the rotation tonight.
The 33-year-old owns a 2-2 record with a 3.32 ERA over six career starts against Kansas City.
Thursday's victory improved the Yankees to 15-4 against the Royals at home since the start of the 2006 season. New York has won 26 of the 35 meetings between the clubs over that time period.