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SLAY-ROD A KILLER VS. ANGELS THREE HOMERS, 10 RBI FOR YANKS' RODRIGUEZ N.Y. YANKEES 12, ANGELS 4.

Byline: Gabe Lacques Staff Writer

NEW YORK - Alex Rodriguez's dominance of Bartolo Colon reached historic proportions Tuesday night, when the game's highest-paid and perhaps most talented player etched his name into Yankee Stadium lore at the expense of the Angels' ace.

Rodriguez hit a two-run home run, three-run homer and grand slam in three plate appearances against Colon and finished the night with a run-scoring single for a 10-RBI performance, the most by a Yankee at the venerable ballyard, as the Yankees coasted to a 12-4 victory.

By the time the fourth inning was over, Rodriguez had three homers, nine RBI and a shot at some real history.

Given two chances to become the 16th player in major-league history to hit four homers in a game, Rodriguez settled for the RBI single off Kevin Gregg and a flyout to center in the eighth against Jake Woods.

His 10 RBI fell one short of the Yankees and American League record of 11, established by Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri in 1936, at Philadelphia against the A's.

Not that Rodriguez was picky. Driving in the most runs by a Yankee in the House that Ruth Built was special enough for the third baseman.

``When I got to first base after that last hit, I was on top of a cloud,'' Rodriguez said. ``You definitely don't want a moment like that to end. You want it to last forever. This is a night I'll never forget.''

Rodriguez's sepia-toned memories of his big night provided a juxtaposition to Colon, who took his lumps in good humor.

Rodriguez simply owns him, and Colon is convinced there's not much he can do to change that.

After Tuesday's Bronx beating, Rodriguez is hitting .425 (17 for 40) with six home runs against Colon, who entered Tuesday's game with a 3-1 record and a 2.60 ERA.

Five walks and three massive home runs later, he still had no solutions.

``It seems when I leave something up in the strike zone, he hammers me,'' Colon said through an interpreter. ``It seems like every time I face him, he lays off good pitches. Maybe he's got it down to figuring out my mechanics. Maybe he can tell what's coming up.

``Obviously, he made it clear he wasn't going to miss.''

Colon struggled to get loose on a 56-degree evening and, in 3 2/3 innings, walked five, two in the first inning.

He had little wiggle room when he faced a 2-and-2 count on Rodriguez, who pounced on the fastball and drove it deep over the 399-foot mark in left-center field.

Two innings later, trailing 3-2, Colon walked Gary Sheffield with one out before getting Hideki Matsui to fly to center. Up stepped Rodriguez, who took Colon's 1-0 fastball into the bullpen areas in left field. The score was 5-3, and Rodriguez had his 38th career multihomer game.

In the fourth, the Angels gave Rodriguez some help. Second baseman Chone Figgins committed two errors, twice extending an inning Colon should have escaped unscathed.

Colon ran a full count on Matsui before walking him, loading the bases for Rodriguez.

The crowd of 36,328 roared in anticipation. Gregg was warm in the bullpen, but Scioscia remained in the dugout, hopeful Colon could finish that inning and maybe one more.

``In that situation,'' Colon said, ``I want to face Alex.''

Rodriguez claimed a grand slam wasn't on his mind.

``If I thought about hitting a grand slam there,'' he said, ``it would've never happened.''

Colon fell behind 3-1, then blew a 97 mph fastball by Rodriguez. His 101st and final pitch didn't work out so well.

Rodriguez drove a rocket over the fence in straightaway center, striking a facade in front of the black-tarped seats well beyond the 408-foot mark.

Gregg relieved Colon, allowing ample time for Rodriguez to, at manager Joe Torre's urging, take a curtain call.

``The players became fans,'' Torre said. ``Your mouth drops open when you see something like that.''

It was 10-4, and the legend was mushrooming. Several New York-area columnists, dispatched across town for the Pedro Martinez-John Smoltz showdown at Shea Stadium, scurried to the Bronx for Rodriguez's final at-bats.

But aside from his 10th RBI, that would be all. And that was more than enough.

``When a guy gets into a rhythm hitting-wise, it's tough to stop him,'' Colon said.

Gabe Lacques, (626) 962-8811

gabe.lacques(at)sgvn.com

CAPTION(S):

2 photos, 5 boxes

Photo:

(1 -- color) no caption (Alex Rodriguez)

(2) Angels pitcher Bartolo Colon reacts after giving up a two-run homer to the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez.

Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

Box:

(1) ANGELS at NEW YORK

- Gabe Lacques

(2) DOUBLE DIGIT CLUB

(3) GAME RECAP

(4) HOW THE RUNS SCORED

(5) ALMANAC
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 27, 2005
Words:791
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