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A-Rod's double pushes Yanks past Jays for fifth straight victory

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

NEW YORK -- Here come the New York Yankees.

Finally.

Maybe.

Alex Rodriguez hit a go-ahead double in the seventh inning and the surging Yankees won their fifth straight game, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 on Wednesday night.

"We need to make something out of this run," manager Joe Torre said after celebrating his 67th birthday with a victory. "We let the other one get away from us a little bit."

Roger Clemens pitched out of trouble for six gritty innings to keep New York close, and Andy Phillips delivered another clutch hit as the Yankees (48-44) moved a season-high four games above .500.

Mariano Rivera entered in the eighth and got five outs for his fourth save in five days.

"We have to do whatever it takes," Rivera said.

By winning 11 of 14 overall, the Yankees have trimmed Boston's AL East lead to seven games -- the closest they've been since after games of May 12. Following a miserable first half filled with spurts and slides, they certainly appear ready to take off.

But that's been the case a couple of times before, too.

"There's definitely a positive outlook for us," Rodriguez said.

Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu started the seventh-inning rally that got Yankee Stadium rocking for one of the few times all season. Eager for a second-half comeback and perhaps sensing the momentum building, the crowd of 52,147 chanted "MVP! MVP!" for Rodriguez as he stood at second after his big hit.

"He's explosive," Torre said. "He's going to give you something to talk about."

New York has won 17 of its last 22 home games.

Alex Rios had four hits, including a triple. He scored Toronto's run on Troy Glaus' two-out single in the first, but struck out against Rivera with runners at the corners to end the eighth.

"Playing this team, you let them mill around a little bit, they're going to make you pay. You have to get the runs when you have the opportunities," Toronto first baseman Lyle Overbay said.

New York shook loose after being stifled for six innings by Shaun Marcum (5-4), who went pitch-for-pitch with Clemens and had a chance to come out on top.

Marcum's teammates provided little support, however. After stranding 12 runners each of the previous two nights, the Blue Jays left 13 on base this time -- eight against the 44-year-old Clemens.

"I continue to try to show Joe that I can get out of my messes," Clemens said. "It was a day when my body didn't help me that much. I didn't have as much energy as I normally do.

"I'm not young," he added. "The training that I'm doing now is for October, and I think these guys know that."

Mike Myers (1-0) retired Overbay on a grounder with the bases loaded to end the seventh, the biggest out he's gotten in a while. It was the left-hander's first win since Aug. 18 at Boston.

Clemens allowed a season-high nine hits, struck out three and walked one in his 700th major league outing. He threw 63 of his 99 pitches for strikes against his former team.

"He made some big pitches when he had to," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He isn't as fast as he used to be, but he can still make big pitches at the right time."

After it took four Yankees relievers to get four outs, Rivera finished for his 15th save in 17 chances. He is perfect since blowing his first two opportunities this season.

"We just have to do a better job in the eighth inning," Torre said, adding that he doesn't want to use Rivera for more than three outs too often.

New York has come from behind in four of its past five wins.

"They're on a roll right now. They weren't going to stay down all year," Gibbons said.

With the Yankees trailing 1-0, Jeter lined a 3-2 pitch to right for a leadoff single in the seventh. On a perfectly executed hit-and-run, Abreu pulled a grounder through the right side for a single that snapped an 0-for-15 skid.

With runners at the corners, Rodriguez doubled over the head of left fielder Reed Johnson to drive in both runners and chase Marcum. Phillips made it 4-1 with a two-run single off Brandon League.

Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano added RBI singles in the eighth.

Helped by three double plays in the first four innings, Marcum yielded three runs and five hits over six-plus innings.

"It's hard to be perfect for 100 pitches. They made me pay when I made mistakes," he said.

Notes

  • The Yankees have won four consecutive series after losing their previous four.
  • The Blue Jays are 1-4 the past four seasons when Rios has at least four hits.
  • New York's Hideki Matsui extended his hitting streak to a season-high 13 games.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Alex Rodriguez's hit in the seventh helps New York trim Boston's AL East advantage to seven games.  (AP)
Alex Rodriguez's hit in the seventh helps New York trim Boston's AL East advantage to seven games. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

R. Clemens
IP 6.0
H 9
ER 1
BB 1
K 3
New York

A. Rodriguez
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 

Related Video

Toronto Blue Jays
Reed Johnson, LF4020111 .233
    Royce Clayton, SS0000000 .251
Alex Rios, RF5140012 .303
Vernon Wells, CF5000006 .251
Troy Glaus, 3B5011026 .289
Frank Thomas, DH4010101 .257
Lyle Overbay, 1B3000104 .269
Aaron Hill, 2B3020100 .272
Jason Phillips, C3000013 .208
   a- Gregg Zaun, PH-C1000001 .234
John McDonald, SS3000002 .266
   b- Matt Stairs, PH-LF0000100 .281
Totals36110155  
a-flied out for Phillips in the 8th
b-walked for McDonald in the 8th
Batting
3B - Alex Rios (4, Clemens)
RBI - Troy Glaus (43)
2-OUT RBI - Troy Glaus (8)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
DP - Hill-McDonald-Overbay, McDonald-Hill-Overbay, Hill-McDonald-Overbay
Toronto Blue Jays
Shaun Marcum (L,5-4) 6533210 3.73
Scott Downs 0.1111110 2.41
Brandon League 1.1422000 7.71
Brian Tallet 0.1100000 3.67
Pitches-Strikes - Shaun Marcum 93-54, Scott Downs 17-8, Brandon League 25-17, Brian Tallet 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shaun Marcum 6-8, Brandon League 3-1
Batters Faced - Shaun Marcum 22, Scott Downs 3, Brandon League 8, Brian Tallet 2
New York Yankees
Johnny Damon, LF3000102 .236
Derek Jeter, SS4120000 .332
Bobby Abreu, RF4120012 .266
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3212102 .309
Hideki Matsui, DH4220001 .286
Jorge Posada, C4011012 .331
Robinson Cano, 2B3021100 .278
Andy Phillips, 1B4012003 .297
Melky Cabrera, CF3000002 .279
Totals32611632  
Batting
2B - Alex Rodriguez (23, Marcum)
RBI - Alex Rodriguez 2 (92), Jorge Posada (51), Robinson Cano (44), Andy Phillips 2 (11)
2-OUT RBI - Jorge Posada (13), Robinson Cano (12)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Rodriguez-Cano-Phillips
New York Yankees
Roger Clemens 6911130 3.88
Scott Proctor 0.2100210 3.53
Mike Myers (W,1-0) 0.1000000 2.84
Brian Bruney (H,5) 0.1000100 2.43
Ron Villone0000100 3.86
Mariano Rivera (S,15) 1.2000010 3.18
WP - Roger Clemens (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Roger Clemens 99-63, Scott Proctor 20-11, Mike Myers 4-3, Brian Bruney 9-4, Ron Villone 6-2, Mariano Rivera 21-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roger Clemens 5-9, Mike Myers 1-0, Mariano Rivera 2-2
Batters Faced - Roger Clemens 27, Scott Proctor 5, Mike Myers 1, Brian Bruney 2, Ron Villone 1, Mariano Rivera 5
Game Information
Attendance - 52147
Game Time - 3:25
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Tim McClelland, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Field Culbreth