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A-Rod homers on 40th birthday in Yankees' 6-2 win at Rangers

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A-Rod, Yankees rally past Rangers

On his 40th birthday, Alex Rodriguez hits his 24th home run of the season in the Yankees' 6-2 victory over the Rangers.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Alex Rodriguez homered on his 40th birthday, helping the New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 6-2 Monday night.

A-Rod's solo drive in the sixth off Matt Harrison (1-2) made him only the fourth player in major league history to homer both as a teenager and in his 40s, according to STATS, joining joined Ty Cobb, Rusty Staub and Gary Sheffield.

Rodriguez hit his big league-best sixth homer on his birthday, STATS said, breaking a tie with Todd Helton, Chipper Jones, Derrek Lee and Al Simmons.

It was Rodriguez's 24th this season and 678th of his career, and it came two days after he went deep three times against Minnesota, in his previous game.

When Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees before spring training in 2004, he was only three seasons into the $252 million, 10-year contract he signed with Texas after starting his career with Seattle from 1994-2000. He got a $275 million, 10-year deal from New York after the 2007 season.

Didi Gregorius had a career-high four RBI and matched his best with three hits, including a two-run homer in the third. His two-run single in the seventh made it 6-2.

The AL East-leading Yankees won for the seventh time in eight games, and their seven-game division lead is their largest since leading by 7 1-2 games on July 29, 2012. New York's 15-5 record in July is best in the majors.

Ivan Nova (3-3) allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. with three strikeouts and two walks. Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances followed with hitless relief.

Harrison allowed six runs and six hits in six innings in his third start since coming back from spinal fusion surgery.

Josh Hamilton had a two-out single in the second and scored on Elvis Andrus' double for Texas before a single by Leonys Martin put Texas up 2-0.

The Yankees went ahead to stay when the Nos. 7-9 batters all had hits to start the third. Chase Headley singled, Gregorius homered and Brendan Ryan tripled before scoring on Chris Young's sacrifice fly.

Martin had two tremendous defensive plays in center field. He leaped with his glove near the top of the 8-foot wall to rob Mark Teixeira of a possible homer in the second, then Martin threw out Teixeira trying to score to end the eighth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: CF Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the starting lineup with a sore shoulder a day after slamming into the wall making a catch in Minnesota. But he entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth.

Rangers: LHP Derek Holland is set to begin his rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Round Rock. It will be his first game since hurting his shoulder in the home opener April 10.

UP NEXT

Yankees: Adam Warren or Chris Capuano will make a spot start Tuesday in place of rookie RHP Bryan Mitchell, who was in line to make the start until an accident in the weight room last week. Mitchell is OK, but hit his head after falling backward while working with exercise bands attached to a door that someone opened.

Rangers: Lefty Martin Perez (0-1, 4.91) makes his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery. The Yankees are one of only two AL opponents the 24-year-old Perez hasn't faced.