" Hero: A-Rod gave New York a 4-2 lead in the third with his major league-leading 32nd homer this season and No. 496 of his career.
" Unsung hero: Mariano Rivera finished for his 427th career save and 14th in 16 chances this year.
" Figure this: Troy Glaus, who homered twice against Kei Igawa, hit his first triple since April 6, 2005, with Arizona.
" Quotable: "He's been a clutch hitter for us lately. He's been the ultimate underdog. How can you not cheer for this guy?" -- Rodriguez on Phillips
-- ESPN.com news services
Yankees 6, Blue Jays 4
NEW YORK (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez foiled Toronto again, with help
from a role player who is giving the Yankees an important boost.
Rodriguez hit a two-run homer and New York got another big hit
from Andy Phillips, beating the Blue Jays 6-4 on Monday night in a
noticeably even-tempered game.
Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano also connected off Josh Towers
(4-6) for the resurgent Yankees, who have won nine of 12 overall
and four of five since the All-Star break. Mariano Rivera earned
his third save in three days.
"I think it's big for this team to have everyone contribute
because Alex has carried us a lot this year," Phillips said.
"He got me with a pitch I haven't seen him throw in 12 years --
about a 96 mph sinker," Thomas said. "I haven't seen him throw
that since he was a set-up man."
There were no beanballs in the first meeting between the teams
since Rodriguez distracted Toronto third baseman Howie Clark by
saying something as he ran past him on a popup in late May. The
ball dropped for a run-scoring single, giving New York an insurance
run in the ninth inning.
The Blue Jays were steamed about it at the time, but on Monday
they downplayed any lingering anger toward Rodriguez or thoughts of
"As far as I'm concerned, it's over," manager John Gibbons
said before the game, adding that he hadn't heard his players
talking much about it recently, either. "There was a lot thrown at
it, but it's gone."
Rodriguez played a big part with his bat, giving New York a 4-2
lead in the third with his major league-leading 32nd homer this
season and No. 496 of his career.
"That one felt good," he said.
As the two-time MVP rounded third, Glaus stood with his arms
folded and watched A-Rod with a low, disdainful glare.
Asked if he had any thoughts about whether the Blue Jays might
retaliate, a terse Rodriguez said: "None. Zero. Next question."
The drive came after Bobby Abreu hustled to barely beat out a
potential inning-ending double play. The play was close, and the
throw might have been in time.
The score was tied 4-all in the sixth when Jorge Posada hit a
two-out single and went to third on Cano's loud double off the
Phillips, the latest player to get a chance at first base for
New York, poked a 1-2 pitch to center and the ball dropped in front
of Vernon Wells for a two-run single that chased Towers.
"I'm just hoping that ball will hurry up and get down before he
gets to it," Phillips said. "Fortunately, I got a ball that had
eyes on it."
Phillips also hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning of
Sunday's 7-6 victory over Tampa Bay, then made a diving catch at
first base with a runner on second to start an inning-ending double
play that preserved a one-run lead.
"He's been a clutch hitter for us lately," Rodriguez said.
"He's been the ultimate underdog. How can you not cheer for this
Following a double play in the sixth, Rios' solo homer off
winner Scott Proctor (2-5) tied it 4-all. Proctor worked a
scoreless seventh, helped by Matsui's fine catch in left field. The
right-hander struck out pinch-hitter Matt Stairs with two on to end
"We just couldn't bring them in tonight," Rios said.
Luis Vizcaino worked a perfect inning against the top three
batters in Toronto's lineup. Rivera finished for his 427th career
save and 14th in 16 chances this year.
Making his first start in 11 days, Igawa needed 115 pitches to
get through five innings. The rookie struck out a career-high seven
and walked four, leaving with a 4-3 lead.
"He made a lot of good pitches," Yankees manager Joe Torre
Glaus connected in the third and fifth, his 25th career
multihomer game and second this season. He has three homers in the
past three games after going 18 games and 62 at-bats without one.
The Yankees have 14 homers in their last six games. ...
Towers fell to 2-8 with a 5.03 ERA against the Yankees. He hasn't
beaten them since Aug. 9, 2004. ... It was Glaus' first triple
since April 6, 2005, with Arizona. ... Toronto RHP Brandon League
made his season debut with a perfect seventh, striking out Derek
Jeter and Rodriguez. League was out all season with a right
shoulder injury before he was activated from the disabled list