As the Yankees came back to the dugout after another long inning in the field, New York starter Phil Hughes made sure to thank them.
The Yankees’ powerful lineup scored more than enough runs to get Hughes his 16th win, on a warm night when he struggled through five long innings as New York beat the Oakland Athletics, 9-3, at Yankee Stadium.
“The thing that made us happy is he went out there and grinded it out,’’ right fielder Nick Swisher said. “You want pitchers with heart.’’
Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer and Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher also went deep for the Yankees, who moved back into sole possession of first place. Tampa Bay, which lost to Toronto, and New York had spent eight days tied atop the AL East.
The Yankees, who came back from a three-run deficit to win, 11-5, the night before, jumped on A’s starter Vin Mazzaro. Brett Gardner led off the first with a single, and the Yankees scored three runs in the inning, helped by second baseman Mark Ellis’s fielding error and Jorge Posada’s triple.
The Yankees added two more in the third when Nick Swisher homered on a 3-0 pitch one batter after Teixeira singled with one out. Granderson hit a one-out solo shot in the fourth before Teixeira hit his 30th homer of the season.
Hughes (16-6) walked five but only gave up two runs and four hits in five innings.
Blue Jays 13, Rays 5 — Jose Bautista hit his major league-leading 43d homer during a 10-run sixth inning as visiting Toronto thumped Tampa Bay. “You love that,’’ said Ricky Romero, who pitched into the eighth inning for his 11th win. “You wish you could see that every night.’’
Tampa Bay lost for only the fifth time in 17 games.
White Sox 4, Indians 3 — With Manny Ramirez standing in the on-deck circle ready to pinch hit, A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run homer off Frank Herrmann in the ninth inning to lift visiting Chicago. Ramirez, who arrived earlier in the day to help Chicago’s playoff push, was poised to make his White Sox debut and bat for Brent Lillibridge before Pierzynski came through.
Royals 10, Rangers 9 — Willie Bloomquist scored on Alexi Ogando’s wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Alex Gordon drove in three runs to lead host Kansas City.
Twins 4, Tigers 3 — Delmon Young had two hits, including the go-ahead single in the seventh, to lift host Minnesota. Young’s big hit came after Tigers reliever Phil Coke (7-4) hit two batters to load the bases and Ryan Perry walked in the tying run.
Braves 9, Mets 2 — David Ross hit his first career grand slam to cap a seven-run inning made possible by Luis Castillo’s error, and host Atlanta rolled to its fourth straight win.
Astros 3, Cardinals 0 — Wandy Rodriguez pitched seven innings and three relievers completed the three-hit shutout as host Houston blanked St. Louis for the second straight game.
Diamondbacks 7, Padres 4 — Miguel Montero drove in the go-ahead runs with a ground-rule double as host Arizona handed NL West-leading San Diego its sixth straight loss.
Giants 5, Rockies 2 — Andres Torres led off the eighth inning with a go-ahead home run, helping host San Francisco beat Colorado and close within four games of San Diego.
Phillies 8, Dodgers 4 — Brian Schneider and Ryan Howard each hit a three-run homer to power visiting Philadelphia, keeping the Phillies three games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East.
Marlins 1, Nationals 0 — Chad Tracy singled home Hanley Ramirez with the winning run in the 10th inning to lift host Florida.
Pirates 14, Cubs 7 — Neil Walker and Garrett Jones each hit a long two-run homer as Pittsburgh won for only the fifth time in 43 road games.
Mariners 3, Angels 1 — Adam Moore’s broken-bat RBI single highlighted a three-run rally in the eighth inning to give host Seattle the victory.