Thames' HR gives Yankees eighth straight win

New York Yankees' Marcus Thames watches his two-run New York Yankees' Marcus Thames watches his two-run home run during the seventh inning. (Sept. 4, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Marcus Thames made sure the day wasn't about Javier Vazquez. Or at least solely about him.

Thames' tiebreaking two-run homer off righthander Jason Frasor with two outs in the seventh inning Saturday, gave the Yankees a 7-5 victory over the Blue Jays in front of 47,478 at the Stadium. It was their eighth straight win, putting them 21/2 games ahead of the Rays and a season-high 36 games over .500 at 86-50.

Four relievers got the ball to Mariano Rivera, who earned his 29th save.

But Vazquez, who was neither awful nor great in making his first start since Aug. 21, commanded much of the afternoon's attention. He showed his displeasure with Joe Girardi when he was yanked from the game with two outs in the fifth and a 5-3 lead, then did it again while anwering questions tersely.

"I'm not the manager," said Vazquez, whose fastball never reached 90 mph. "Sometimes as a player, you don't agree with the decisions that your manager makes, but he's still the manager and you have to respect that."

Vazquez was charged with five runs in 42/3 innings after allowing four hits and four walks, but he was one out from a better line and, perhaps, his first win as a starter since July 26.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Vazquez retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth and got ahead of Jose Bautista 1-and-2. But he walked Bautista - who leads the majors with 43 homers - and pitching coach Dave Eiland visited the mound. After Vernon Wells' single sent Bautista to third, Girardi replaced Vazquez, who was at 88 pitches, with Dustin Moseley.

"You look at how they get to the 88," said Girardi, who removed rookie Ivan Nova after 42/3 innings and 76 pitches with a 5-3 lead Friday because he said the rookie simply wasn't throwing that well. "I thought it was time to make a change."

Moseley gave up a tying two-run double to Lyle Overbay, who hit a solo homer off Vazquez in a three-run second capped by John McDonald's two-run shot off the leftfield foul pole.

It stayed at 5-5 until Thames, 2-for-17 to that point on the homestand, hit Frasor's 0-and-1 pitch - a hanging 83-mph slider - into the Blue Jays' bullpen for his 11th homer and a 7-5 lead.

"They were throwing me all sliders all day," said Thames, who had hit two long fly balls earlier in the game. "The first one, I got out in front of a little bit. I knew he was going to throw me another one, so I just sat slider the next pitch and I didn't miss that one."

Despite his recent struggles, Thames has been a major contributor with Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list, going 11-for-35 (.314) with seven homers and 13 RBIs in his last 10 games. "Al's been down, Swish hasn't played the last two days, and you have to have that step up," Thames said. "Right now I'm being able to chip in."

The Blue Jays' best late-inning scoring chance was derailed by Joba Chamberlain and, they felt, plate umpire Ed Hickox. DeWayne Wise started the seventh with a single off Boone Logan and Chamberlain hit Aaron Hill with a pitch to bring Bautista to the plate. He was called out on a 3-and-2 slider that appeared several baseballs outside, argued about it and was ejected by Hickox. Wells then grounded into a double play, with Mark Teixeira laying out to grab Robinson Cano's wide throw.

"It's obviously a different situation with the bases loaded," Chamberlain said of being on the right end of Hickox's call. "But we did what we wanted to do and attacked him."

You also may be interested in: