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A-Rod’s Silent Bat Had Company Last Night

It all started out so promisingly: A lead-off walk, then two batters later, a two-run Mark Teixeira home run and an early Yankees lead. Perhaps it wouldn't be Ricky Romero's night. And then, after those first three batters ... nothing. Or, more accurately, nothing except a slow-rolling Marcus Thames infield hit. Romero retired 26 of the final 27 batters he faced, so needless to say, Alex Rodriguez did not hit a home run last night. The A-Rod hit-of-any-kind watch has officially supplanted the A-Rod 600th-homer watch.

Dustin Moseley kept the Yankees within two through seven, but things got out of hand from there: a Vernon Wells home run to lead off the eighth, then an Aaron Hill home run off Kerry Wood, and in the ninth, a Jose Bautista home run to cap the scoring at 8-2. Romero's performance over the last eight innings may not have been expected, but the Jays adding to their league-leading home-run total should have been.

The loss makes three straight for the Yankees — the first time since June 16-18 that they've dropped that many in a row. More important, Tampa Bay's win over Minnesota last night means that when Phil Hughes takes the ball this afternoon, he'll do so for the second-place Yankees. Their wild-card lead is five and a half games.

Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images