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A-Rod's October slump continues after 0-for-4 night

CLEVELAND -- Another postseason, another perplexing struggle
for Alex Rodriguez.

The Yankees superstar went 0-for-4 and struck out three times
Friday as New York lost to Cleveland 2-1 in 11 innings, leaving
them in an 0-2 deficit.

Rodriguez, who hit .314 with 54 home runs and 156 RBIs during
the season, is 0-for-6 in this playoff series. He is an
inexplicable 4-for-47 (.085) with no RBIs in his last 14 postseason
games.

"I'm not pressing, but I've got to swing at strikes," Rodriguez
said.

He is hitless in his last 28 postseason at-bats on the road,
dating to last season. He had a chance to end the streak and drive
in the go-ahead run with two outs in the ninth, but struck out
against Fausto Carmona.

"Me personally, I helped him out a few times," Rodriguez said.
"I've got to stop swinging at bad pitches."

Manager Joe Torre pointed out that the Yankees had three hits in
11 innings, and eight hits in two games total. So it isn't only
Rodriguez who is struggling.

"You know, A-Rod's not the only one, you can't put it on
A-Rod," Torre said. "Normally we're pretty good at manufacturing
things, but not tonight."

Rodriguez's October troubles have mirrored the Yankees, who have
lost five straight in the playoffs. They last trailed 0-2 in the
postseason in the 2001 World Series. They responded in that series
by winning three straight, but lost in seven games.

A-Rod's night at the plate went like this:

•  He popped up on first pitch from Carmona in second inning.
Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera waved off his teammates and coasted
out to short right field to make the catch.

•  In the fourth, he was ahead 2-0, fouled one off, then waved at
two sinkers and walked back to the dugout, leaving a runner at
second.

•  He struck out on three pitches with a runner on first in the
seventh.

•  His best at-bat came in the ninth, when he went down swinging
in a nine-pitch at-bat against Carmona, leaving Bobby Abreu on
second base. Carmona's last pitch was a sinker that dropped about a
foot, down and outside, Rodriguez said.

"I was excited about the situation," Rodriguez said. "I
thought I was the right man in the right spot."

The Yankees inability to hit the Indians left Rodriguez at a
loss for an explanation.

"Three hits in 11 innings is not acceptable for us," Rodriguez
said. "We're probably trying to do to much."

The Indians travel to New York for Game 3 on Sunday night,
looking for the first October sweep of the Yankees in 27 years.

New York was last swept 3-0 in the 1980 championship series
against the Kansas City Royals. The Yankees have on been the losing
side of a postseason sweep just four times in their storied
history.

"We've been in a hole all year," Rodriguez said. "A big win
right now would take a lot of pressure off all of us."