"It's great. I never thought ... I didn't have much expectations," Rodriguez said. "But right now, I'm focusing on every at-bat, just trying to help the team win."
It was the 684th career home run for the 40-year-old Rodriguez, who missed all of last season due to a suspension. The homer also marked Rodriguez's 3,056th career hit, surpassing Rickey Henderson for 22nd place all time.
"I've felt much better," Rodriguez said. "One of the good things about getting old is you have some perspective. I talked about that in Atlanta, and the days off for me have been good."
As this improbable comeback season reaches its final stretch, Rodriguez could take some satisfaction in hitting 30 homers for the first time since 2010. Only Babe Ruth (13), Lou Gehrig (10) and Mickey Mantle (nine) have tallied more 30-homer seasons as a Yankee than Rodriguez (eight). And yet ...
"It's very tough," Rodriguez said. "[Masahiro] Tanaka was outstanding today. In a tight race you're going to win some great games, you're going win some emotional games and you're going to lose some tough ones. But it's just one game and the key for us doesn't change. We want to win the series tomorrow."
Rodriguez said that the Yankees cannot focus on the injury related dents to their roster; no one knows when Mark Teixeira will return, Nathan Eovaldi's regular season appears to be over and Brett Gardner was out of Tuesday's lineup due to injury, but Rodriguez's outlook is still one of optimism.
"Look, nobody's going to feel sorry for us," Rodriguez said. "Everybody has injuries. One of the great things [general manager Brian] Cashman has done, he's built a very good roster, one through 40 here. You look at the job [Greg Bird's] done for us, it's been incredible. Obviously Luis [Severino] pitching. I think we're in a good place."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.