Cano, Yankees tag Cahill in 11-5 rout of Oakland
NEW YORK – Trevor Cahill hardly looked like a Cy Young Award contender against the New York Yankees.
Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and the Yankees tagged Cahill for the second time this season, emphatically ending the All-Star’s run of pitching excellence in an 11-5 rout of the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.
“We were really sharp tonight. We didn’t chase many pitches, we did get him to elevate,” New York hitting coach Kevin Long said. “Tonight was one of those days where we were up for the task and answered everything he threw up there.”
Marcus Thames hit a three-run shot to extend his home run streak and New York (81-50) got back-to-back long balls from Teixeira and Cano to move a season-best 31 games over .500. Nick Swisher added three hits and three RBIs, including a two-run double in the first inning that helped the Yankees erase a 3-0 deficit.
Still, they couldn’t shake Tampa Bay atop the AL East. The Yankees and Rays, who beat Toronto 6-2, remained tied for first place for the eighth straight day.
The Yankees said that’s the longest stretch that two major league teams have been tied for first this late in a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Demoted starter Javier Vazquez (10-9) replaced Dustin Moseley in the fifth and earned his second win in three relief outings this year. Aided by Derek Jeter’s fine play at shortstop, Vazquez allowed one run and two hits while striking out six in the final 4 2-3 innings.
“I would love to be in the rotation, but if they feel like I can help the team in the bullpen that’s what I’m going to do,” said Vazquez, who also illustrated a mechanical adjustment he’s made with his leg kick at the suggestion of pitching coach Dave Eiland. “My ball, the last three or four times, has more life.”
Jeff Larish homered and drove in four runs for the A’s, who fell to 4-18 against the Yankees over the past three years – including 1-6 this season.
Oakland began the day with the AL’s best ERA at 3.48, but that was before running into New York’s high-powered offense. The Yankees scored 11 times in the first five innings to chase Cahill (14-6) after he entered 5-1 with a 0.77 ERA in six starts since July 28. The sinkerballer gave up eight earned runs and nine hits, both season highs, in four-plus innings – his shortest outing of the year.
“It just wasn’t his night. He wasn’t quite locating the way he normally does,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “He’s been so good for so long that we’ll kind of pass this one and look forward to him pitching Saturday against the Angels.”
Cahill was touched up for six runs by New York in six innings of a 6-1 loss at home July 6, when Alex Rodriguez hit a grand slam and a solo homer off the right-hander.
“I definitely didn’t have my best stuff, and it’s a team where you have to have your ‘A’ game, especially in this ballpark,” Cahill said. “I feel like I didn’t have command of any pitch. I was behind a lot of guys.”
Rodriguez, on the disabled list with a strained left calf, wasn’t even a threat Monday night – but the Yankees haven’t missed a beat when he’s out, going 16-3 without the three-time MVP this season.
Teixeira returned to the lineup after sitting out Sunday’s victory over the Chicago White Sox with a bruised right thumb. The slugger certainly looked healthy, reaching base safely all four times up with a single, double, homer and walk.
“It makes me feel good that I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” Teixeira said.
With two outs in the third, the Yankees snapped a 3-all tie when Teixeira and Cano (three RBIs) hit consecutive line drives just over the short porch in right. It was Cano’s career-high 26th homer this season, surpassing his total from last year.
No. 9 batter Ramiro Pena added an RBI single in the fourth, then Jeter turned in a difficult play to preserve a 6-4 lead in the fifth. With runners at the corners and two outs, he made a backhand pickup and one-hopped a jump throw to first to get Kevin Kouzmanoff by a half-step.
New York broke it open as the first five batters reached safely in the bottom half. Thames capped a five-run burst with a three-run shot into the second deck in left, just inside the foul pole. It was his sixth home run in his last five starts.
“I’m just getting a chance to get in there more often,” Thames said. “I was telling the guys, every year I go through one of these things. It feels good, especially because we’re winning ballgames.”
Teixeira, Cano and Swisher, New York’s 3-4-5 hitters, went 8 for 9 with five extra-base hits and seven RBIs through the first five innings as the Yankees got off to a big start in the opener of a 10-game homestand, their longest this season.
“Tonight there was no holes, especially in the middle of our lineup,” Long said.
Notes: Oakland LHP Brett Anderson (knee) threw his bullpen session without a problem and is on track to start Wednesday night. … RHP Vin Mazzaro said he has a pass list of 30 and expects about 80 family members and friends to be in attendance Tuesday night when he starts for the A’s. The 23-year-old Mazzaro, who also pitched at Yankee Stadium last season, grew up in nearby Rutherford, N.J.