In rout of A's, Yanks mar Cahill's surge
Teixeira, Cano, Swisher combine for nine hits; Thames homers
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira hadn't yet received his last round of congratulations, giving the Yankees the lead with a third-inning home run, and now Robinson Cano's line drive was rocketing over the right-field wall.
It happened quickly, but as Teixeira would later say, no one should have batted an eyebrow. Teixeira and Cano connected for back-to-back home runs and Marcus Thames added a three-run shot as the Yankees pounded the Athletics, 11-5, on Monday at Yankee Stadium.
"He's had a great year," Teixeira said of Cano. "It's not a surprise; everybody knows how talented he is. He's done it his whole career -- in spurts, maybe. But this is one of those years, you look and he's doing it offensively and defensively, hitting home runs, driving in runs. We expect him to be a 30-home run guy."
With a career-high 26 blasts, Cano has time to get to that milestone; with 29, Teixeira might get there quicker. But the Yankees are more concerned with other pursuits -- like this victory, which kept their tie atop the American League East with the Rays, who defeated the Blue Jays, 6-2, on Monday.
"I just go out there and try to help the team win the game," Cano said. "It doesn't matter right now; it's not about numbers. It's about what you do to win a game."
New York battered Oakland starter Trevor Cahill in his shortest start of the year, getting to the right-hander for a career-high eight earned runs and nine hits in just four-plus innings, but the Yankees might be more encouraged by 4 2/3 strong innings of winning relief from Javier Vazquez.
Bumped to the bullpen with diminished velocity, Vazquez is enjoying a slight mechanical adjustment made by pitching coach Dave Eiland. Vazquez was receptive to the idea of kicking his left leg back a little further in his windup, which may be helping his command and momentum on his fastball.
"The last three or four times, it has more life," Vazquez said. "It's late movement. You can just feel that the ball has some at the end. ... I've always been open to whatever the coaches think is helping."
With the Yankees holding a 7-4 lead when Vazquez entered to relieve Dustin Moseley, the right-hander held the A's to a run on two hits, walking one and striking out six. It may be enough to punch his ticket back into a starting role.
"I hope so -- I've always been a starter, and I would love to be in the rotation," Vazquez said. "If they feel like I can help the team in the bullpen, that's fine with me. I just want to win a championship."
Minutes after Vazquez dashed a changeup past a swinging Gabe Gross for the game's final out, manager Joe Girardi was asked if he could make that decision now. Girardi smiled, having anticipated the question, and offered only that the Yankees -- for the moment -- were remaining on rotation in a "continued evaluation process."
"It seems like his fastball is truer now -- it's not running back, and that's been a real plus," Girardi said. "If he continues to throw the ball like that, he's going to get a lot of outs."
Oakland jumped on Moseley for three runs in a noisy first inning, on Jack Cust's sacrifice fly and Jeff Larish's two-run double, but the Yankees answered with three early runs of their own.
Cahill had entered the evening 4-1 with a 0.92 ERA in five August starts, but Cano swiftly notched an RBI single and Nick Swisher belted a two-run double.
"They had a long first, and we were able to get back even," Girardi said. "I thought that was real important, and we were facing a guy that's been lights-out. He didn't seem to have his sinker tonight."
The Yankees extended their lead in the third, as Teixeira and Cano connected for the Bronx Bombers' seventh back-to-back blasts of the season and the second time the duo -- hitting consecutively with Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list -- could accomplish the feat.
"When you have a sinkerballer, you have to get the ball up, and he might have left just a few too many pitches up to us. We put good swings on it," Teixeira said.
Cano thought his screaming liner was going to hit the wall, but was pleased to see it scrape over and make contact with a fan before bouncing back on the field. Cahill was less happy with the outcome.
"I'm used to playing in Oakland, so I definitely didn't think they were home runs, but I turned around and realized we were playing in Yankee Stadium," Cahill said.
Larish clubbed a solo homer in the fourth, his second and part of a career-high four-RBI evening, before Moseley exited -- charged with four runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings, with four walks and four strikeouts.
"Mose was just kind of struggling a little bit today -- I didn't think his stuff was quite as sharp," Girardi said. "He was in long counts all night."
Ramiro Pena's RBI single in the fourth inning inched New York forward, and the Yankees busted the game open with a five-run fifth inning that chased Cahill.
"I definitely didn't have my best stuff," Cahill said. "Against a team like that, you have to have your 'A' game, especially in this ballpark. Just not a good performance. ... I didn't have command of any pitch, really. I was behind a lot of guys, and once they started going, I couldn't stop them."
The red-hot Thames came through facing reliever Henry Rodriguez with a three-run homer, marking Thames' fifth consecutive starting appearance with a home run and sixth over that span, including one game with a pinch-hit at-bat that didn't result in a long ball.
"I got it good -- I just try not to miss my pitch," Thames said. "I know I'm not going to be in the everyday lineup when Alex gets back, but I'm just trying to do my part and help the ballclub out."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.