It looked like just another night when the Yankees would be victimized by Cliff Lee, but the Yankees managed to chip away at him, as they scored four runs off him and knocked him out of the game in the seventh inning before going to work on the Texas bullpen.

Marcus Thames hit an eighth-inning homer and put the Yanks ahead with a ninth-inning single before Mariano Rivera came in and shut the door on a 7-6 victory, even needing to strand a leadoff triple to do it.

Here are some notes:

  • Thames was hired to hit lefties, but he’s mashed righties as well this season: .321 BA, .879 OPS overall. Just don’t ask him to play defense.
  • Thames went 5-for-10 batting in the No. 3 spot for Mark Teixeira, who was out the last two games for the birth of his third child.
  • Teixeira is expected to be back with the team tonight.
  • Javier Vazquez, who has been dealing with a little bit of a dead arm, admitted frustration with his lack of velocity. He never threw harder than 89 mph last night and usually sat at 88.
  • Kerry Wood got his first Yankees victory. He’s allowed just one run in 6.1 innings since coming to the Bronx.
  • The Yankees tied a franchise record by striking out 17 times. Nick Swisher led the team with four K’s.
  • After the game, manager Joe Girardi said that Jorge Posada‘s foot and calf were OK and his shoulder should be fine as well, but admitted that the cyst in his knee is something they’re going to have to deal with.

That was about as big as win as you can get in August when not playing a division rival. It came against Lee, who you generally can assume a loss against, and it avoided a short series sweep against a potential playoff opponent.

Coming up next, the Yankees play 11 games against teams under .500, starting with the Kansas City Royals.


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