A-Rod bunts in sixth, fails in seventh

With the Yankees trailing the Orioles 6-1 on Tuesday night, Alex Rodriguez strode to the plate to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning.

Baltimore starter Brian Matusz threw a first-pitch breaking ball, and Rodriguez -- with 633 career home runs to his name -- shocked everyone in the stadium by laying a bunt down the third-base line.

A-Rod easily made it to first base safely -- his first bunt for a hit since 2004 -- but the next three hitters all made out, stranding him at first base, in what turned out to be a 7-1 Orioles victory.

"Whatever it takes to win, you’re gonna try to do," Rodriguez said of the bunt after the game. "Obviously we’re down five, I’m leading off the inning. I saw [Wilson] Betemit [playing] back, I saw an opportunity to get on base, and I took it."

"Smart play," said manager Joe Girardi. "We need base runners, that’s the bottom line. We’re trying to put together a big inning, and you need a bunch of base runners, so I don’t have a problem with it."

An inning later, with the bases juiced and two outs, Rodriguez again came up to the plate, this time with a chance to put a serious dent in the Orioles' lead. A-Rod again offered at the first pitch, but this time he popped out to the catcher in foul territory.

Rodriguez responded by slamming his helmet to the ground as he ran down the first-base line, and heard plenty of boos afterward.

"Beautiful pitch to hit," Rodriguez said. "I mean, that’s exactly the pitch you want, right down the middle, hanging slider, and I should have done a lot better than popping up to the catcher."

A-Rod finished the day 2-for-4 -- he also had a bloop single in the first inning -- and is now hitting .256 on the season, with four home runs and 11 RBIs.

"I feel great," Rodriguez said. "I feel like I’m running good, I feel good, I feel healthy. … But bottom line, we gotta get better."