Hideki Matsui homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs, powering the New York Yankees to an 11-4 victory last night over the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.
Javier Vazquez (13-6) allowed three runs in the first inning but yielded just two doubles and a single the rest of the way before being removed after the eighth inning.
It was Matsui's first multi-homer game in 11/2 seasons since coming to the major leagues from Japan. His three-run shot in the bottom of the first inning offset one hit by Carlos Delgado in the top half of the inning.
"He seems to be taking more liberties now," New York Manager Joe Torre said of Matsui. "He's become a little more confident."
Matsui, who finished 3 for 5, stretched the Yankees lead to 5-3 in the third with a solo homer off Sean Douglass, and he capped off the six-run inning with a single that drove in two.
Matsui hit 16 homers in 2003; he already has 22 this year.
"Knowing the pitchers, that's the biggest difference of all," Matsui said through an interpreter. "It gives me a chance to have a better plan at the plate."
New York (69-39) won for the sixth time in seven games to move to a season-high 30 games over .500. The Blue Jays started a seven-game road trip with their fifth loss in seven games.
After yielding two singles and Delgado's home run, Vazquez, who pitched despite a bout with pink eye, settled down and retired the next 11 hitters.
* TIGERS 4, RED SOX 3: In Detroit, Dmitri Young had three hits and scored twice, including the go-ahead run in the sixth, to help the Tigers snap a four-game losing streak.
Carlos Guillen had three hits, including a game-winning single in the sixth inning.
Boston lost for the fourth time in six games and dropped 101/2 games behind first-place New York in the AL East.
Roberto Novoa struck out four over 11/3 innings to earn his first major league win.
* ATHLETICS 3, TWINS 1: Eric Chavez hit a go-ahead double in the 11th inning and Oakland survived Octavio Dotel's second straight blown save to win in Minneapolis.
Oakland, which moved ahead of Texas into the AL West lead, led 1-0 before Shannon Stewart homered off Dotel (2-1) leading off the ninth. On Wednesday, Dotel allowing a tying homer in the ninth to the Yankees' Gary Sheffield.
* INDIANS 3, WHITE SOX 2: In Chicago, C.C. Sabathia outpitched Mark Buehrle and Coco Crisp hit a three-run homer in the second inning to lead Cleveland into a tie with the White Sox for second place in the AL Central.
The Indians have won 10 of their last 15 games, while Chicago has dropped 10 of 12.
* ANGELS 3, ROYALS 0: Kelvim Escobar (6-8) struck out nine in seven innings, and Robb Quinlan hit a two-run homer in a three-run fourth that led visiting Anaheim.
Tim Salmon had an RBI double to support Escobar, who allowed seven hits before Francisco Rodriguez struck out the side in the eighth. Troy Percival finished for his 19th save.
* DEVIL RAYS 2, MARINERS 1: Carl Crawford scored the winning run for host Tampa Bay when Seattle shortstop Jose Lopez was charged with obstruction in the 10th inning.