Troubled baseball star Alex Rodriguez has hit his first home run in almost a year for the New York Yankees.

The controversial slugger connected with Justin Verlander's pitch in the second inning of the clash with the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

It was the 648th homer of the third baseman's career, pushing him past Stan Musial for fifth on the RBIs list with 1,951.

Rodriguez drove in another two runs as the Yankees won 5-4.

The three-time American League Most Valuable Player was given a mixed reception when he came to the plate, but when he sent a soaring fly that landed several rows back in left field and rounded the bases to a loud ovation.

Rodriguez is playing while he appeals the 211-game ban Major League Baseball handed out as a result of its investigation into the now-closed Florida anti-ageing clinic.

He missed most of the year while coming back from hip surgery

After Mariano Rivera blew a third straight save for the first time in his famed career, Brett Gardner homered with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Yankees their first series win in more than a month.

Rivera (3-2) gave up another homer to a limping Miguel Cabrera and a drive to Victor Martinez in the top of the ninth, tying it at 4.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies