Alfonso Soriano homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs, Alex Rodriguez had a two-run double, and New York's bats bailed out a wild CC Sabathia for a 14-7 rout of the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
Vernon Wells homered against his former team, and leadoff batter Eduardo Nunez drove in four runs as New York equaled its highest run total of the season. The second-worst, run-producing offence in the AL won by more than three runs for the first time in 26 games.
"It feel more like the old days," said Soriano, who rejoined the Yankees by a trade with the Cubs on July 26 after playing for them from 1999-2003.
Jason Vargas (6-5) gave up two homers in his first start since having surgery to remove a blood clot from near his left armpit on June 26, including Soriano's go-ahead two-run drive in the fifth.
Soriano singled in a run in the Yankees' four-run sixth that broke open a sloppy game, and hit a three-run shot off Joe Blanton in the seventh.
A quick rain storm chased the players off the field with one out in the top of the eighth. But that didn't slow the Yankees, who had a season-best 19 hits. Nunez had a two-run single before Soriano flied out to left with a shot for a third homer.
Repeatedly kicking at the dirt on the mound, Sabathia (10-10) allowed three runs in six-plus laborious innings in which he walked six, including one to force in a run — but yielded just three hits. Still, he reached 10 wins for the 13th time in a 13-year career.
"I felt like I had pretty good stuff," Sabathia said. "I got into some trouble and I was able to make the pitches and get outs but it was just a battle."
Leading 4-3 in the sixth, Sabathia walked the bases loaded. He got out of the jam with a double play when Chris Nelson left early on a tag up from third base on Tommy Field's liner to left field.
Soriano started the play when he caught Field's fly and made a strong throw home that was offline. Catcher Austin Romine immediately threw to third base to retire Nelson. Angels manager Mike Scioscia spent several minutes pleading his case to plate umpire David Rackley to no avail.
"I thought I was off the base on time. It was frustrating. I know I tagged up and I held my position," Nelson said. "We had momentum heading into that play and it took that away from us."
The Yankees then broke it open with four runs in the bottom half — capped by A-Rod's hard-hit double to left-centre — to ease into their fourth win in five games.
"We got behind tonight and were able to come back, and we were able to tack on runs and put up 10 runs in three innings and that's something we haven't done a whole lot of this year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It is encouraging."
Mike Trout hit a three-run homer in the ninth, and slumping slugger Mark Trumbo connected in the first for Los Angeles, which has lost 13 of 18 even though the Angels led in 10 of those defeats.
Before his start against Seattle on June 17, Vargas noticed temperature differences in his pitching hand. It was caused by circulation problems due to the clot.
In his only rehab start, Vargas gave up four runs in 4 2-3 innings for Triple-A Salt Lake last Thursday and wasn't much better against the Yankees.
He allowed eight hits and four runs, walked one and struck out three.
"I thought his stuff looked good. I think he threw the ball a little better than maybe some things are going to show," Scioscia said. "He's building into a little bit of stamina and he'll be better next time."
The sloppy Yankees did everything they could to give Los Angeles the lead from the start.
With flags whipping in the wind overhead in the first, Wells overran Trout's two-out foul ball into the tight right field corner. One pitch later, Trout walked to bring up Trumbo.
Trumbo homered to left field for his second hit in 27 at-bats.
Wells connected an inning later for his 11th homer. Wells' last long ball came when he was still wearing No. 12 on May 15 — 208 at-bats earlier. He gave that number to Soriano, who came over in a trade with the Cubs in mid-July, and took 22.
The Angels opened a 3-1 lead in the third with help from fielding errors by third baseman Jayson Nix and another miscue by Nunez, who missed touching second base on a force play. The run scored when Nelson drew a bases-loaded walk.
NOTES: Yankees SS Derek Jeter fielded grounders and took batting practice on the field for first time since going on the DL on Aug. 5. He will go to the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., Thursday, and is eligible to return Sunday. ... Scioscia said OF Peter Bourjos (broken hand) isn't ready to return from the DL. "He was not as crisp last night," Scioscia said. Bourjos was 0 for 4 for Salt Lake on Monday night and is 4 for 21 overall on his rehab assignment.