Wang dazzles Jays; Yankees keep pace with Red Sox

NEW YORK (AP) -- Whether it's Toronto's big bats or punchless
Tampa Bay, Chien-Ming Wang is overpowering everybody lately.

That's a momentous development for the surging New York Yankees,
who need as much consistent pitching as they can get.

Wang tossed eight more shutout innings to win his fifth straight
start, and Alex Rodriguez got two key hits in a six-run sixth that
broke open New York's 7-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on
Wednesday night.

"That sinkerball, it's a lot like a knuckleball pitcher. You
can tell them what's coming and there's not a lot anybody can do
about it," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I feel so good when
we write his name in the lineup."

Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada homered for the AL East-leading
Yankees, who won for the seventh time in eight games and improved
to 10-1-1 in their last 12 series.

Bobby Abreu singled and doubled for his first two hits with New
York, and fellow newcomer Craig Wilson added a pair of singles in
his Yankees debut.

Coming off a two-hitter against the Devil Rays last Friday for
his first career shutout, Wang (13-4) buzzed through the
best-hitting team in the major leagues and ran his scoreless streak
to 18 innings.

"Before, sometimes my arm dropped down. Now, I stay on top,"
Wang said, adding that he's having "a lot of fun."

Pitching on a sweltering 97-degree night before a sellout crowd
of 54,414, he allowed four hits and got 16 outs on grounders to
beat the Blue Jays for the second time in 12 days. The right-hander
walked three, all in the second inning, and struck out three.

"He's got that power sinker. He's a groundball machine,"
Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

Wang has a 1.64 ERA in his past five starts. With that string of
stingy performances, he has surpassed an inconsistent Randy Johnson
and become New York's No. 2 starter -- right behind Mike Mussina.

"It's really tough to say who's been the best for us," Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon said. "He's been as good as Moose has all season long."

Ron Villone gave up a two-run homer in the ninth to Troy Glaus,
his 28th.

The Blue Jays, who have lost four straight and eight of 11,
entered leading the majors in batting average (.293) and slugging
percentage (.480). But Wang shut them down.

"The guy throws 95-plus with a sink like that, you've got to
tip your cap to him," Toronto's Aaron Hill said.

Jeter hit a solo homer in the third off ex-Yankee Ted Lilly

Rodriguez hustled his way to a leadoff double in the sixth,
evading a tag at second base with a clever slide. Beaten badly by
the throw, he pulled back his left arm and reached around to touch
the base with his right -- drawing laughs from Jeter and other
teammates on the bench.

"I was pretty confident until I saw the ball beat me by 25
feet," Rodriguez said. "It feels like you came in without your
homework and the teacher calls your name."

Posada followed with his 13th homer, and Melky Cabrera's one-out
double chased Lilly.

Damon hit an RBI single off Dustin McGowan, and Jeter walked
with the bases loaded to make it 5-0.

After Abreu struck out against Scott Downs, Rodriguez hit a
two-run single to left off the glove of diving shortstop John McDonald.

Lilly gave up five runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"Sometimes we want to win the game so bad it works against
us," he said.

Game notes
The Yankees are 9-2 in their last 11 home games. ... New
York is 23-9 against left-handed starters. ... The Yankees held a
moment of silence before the game and a video tribute before the
seventh for former captain Thurman Munson. The catcher was killed
in a plane crash 27 years ago on this date. ... Lilly dropped to
2-7 against the Yankees. ... The Blue Jays are 3-9 in their past 12
games at Yankee Stadium. ... Jeter extended his hitting streak to
11 games. ... RHP Cory Lidle, acquired from Philadelphia on Sunday
with Abreu, is slated to start Thursday for his Yankees debut.