“We are playing good ball, there’s no doubt about that,” Posada said. “I think it’s just the way our pitchers are doing it, giving us a chance to win, staying in the game, not really letting down. I think that’s the reason we’re playing the way we are.”
Posada’s homer was his 20th, giving New York a major league-leading seven players with at least that many—it’s the first time the Yankees have done that in team history.
“I’m happy for it but it’s just a matter of really staying healthy this year for me,” said Posada, who was limited to 51 games last season because of a right shoulder injury.
The AL East leaders won for the 14th time in 17 road games. Toronto lost its fourth in a row.
The seven 20-homer players matches a major league record set three times previously. The 1996 Orioles, 2000 Blue Jays and 2005 Rangers all had seven players with 20 or more home runs. New York shortstop Derek Jeter(notes), who has 17 home runs, is the next closest to 20.
Posada went 4 for 5 and hit his 340th career double, moving past Bob Meusel into ninth place on the team’s all-time list.
“Jorge had a huge night for us,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Rodriguez said having a healthy Posada all season has made a big difference to the Yankees.
“Jorge is very valuable to this team,” Rodriguez said. “Him and (Mark Teixeira(notes)), being switch-hitters, they’re so important to our lineup. They present a lot of problems for opposing managers.”
Rodriguez’s homer, a solo shot in the ninth, was his 24th this season and 50th overall against Toronto. He has 577 lifetime.
Rodriguez had a more difficult time in the fifth when he collided with a policewoman while trying to catch a foul pop up down the left-field line.
“I’m just glad she didn’t read me my rights,” Rodriguez joked. “Only me. Oh my God, how embarrassing.”
In the sixth, a fan seated behind the first-base dugout caught a foul, then fired the ball back onto the field. The ball bounced in front of Yankees reliever Alfredo Aceves(notes) as he stood on the rubber, and several New York players came out of the dugout to watch as security apprehended the fan.
“That’s disturbing,” Girardi said. “The guys got thrown out, they did the right thing. You just hope that fans are respectful of the players. These are human beings out on the field and you don’t want to hurt anyone. You can show your frustration in other ways.”
Aceves (10-1) worked 2 1-3 innings for his major league-leading 10th relief win. He allowed one earned run and two hits, striking out three.
Jeter went 0 for 4 with a sacrifice and remained nine hits shy of breaking Lou Gehrig’s record for the most in Yankees history.
The Yankees jumped in front with a four-run first against Ricky Romero(notes) (11-7). Hideki Matsui(notes) hit a bases-loaded single that skipped under the glove of right fielder Travis Snider(notes) and rolled all the way to the wall for a two-base error, and Posada followed with an RBI single.
Raul Chavez(notes) hit a bases-loaded single, Marco Scutaro(notes) followed with a sacrifice fly and Aaron Hill(notes) ended Gaudin’s outing with an RBI single. Aceves came on and struck out Adam Lind(notes) to strand runners at first and second.
“Ace came in, cleaned it up and did a nice job and the rest of the bullpen did a good job tonight,” Girardi said.
New York tacked on two more in the fifth with RBI singles from Alex Rodriguez and Posada, knocking out Romero.
Romero lost back-to-back starts for just the second time this season, allowing seven runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings. He walked a season-high six and struck out seven.
Toronto made it 7-5 with two runs off Aceves in the sixth. Chavez hit an RBI double and scored when Scutaro reached on Rodriguez’s error.
NOTES: New York closer Mariano Rivera(notes) (groin) threw in the outfield before the game and said he may try to pitch off a bullpen mound Friday. … Yankees OF Brett Gardner(notes) (left thumb) went 0 for 2 with a walk and a stolen base in his first rehab game for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Manager Joe Girardi said Gardner could be activated when the Yankees return home Monday for a doubleheader against Tampa Bay.