NEW YORK - Alex Rodriguez stole home and hit a long homer and Gary Sheffield also connected as the Yankees defeated the Orioles 6-4. Javier Vazquez lasted only 51/3 innings on a humid Saturday afternoon, but that was enough to improve to 9-2 in his last 14 starts. He received plenty of help from the bullpen as four pitchers combined for scoreless relief the rest of the way.
New York has won 10 of 12 against the Orioles and 17 of 22 dating to last year.
Sheffield hit his 402nd homer and drove in two runs, and Rodriguez finished with three hits and a couple of fine plays at third base. He stole home on a double steal in the fourth, helping the Yankees win for the eighth time in nine home games.
Scott Proctor relieved Vazquez (12-6) and escaped a jam in the sixth. Paul Quantrill pitched a perfect seventh, Tom Gordon worked a one-hit eighth and Mariano Rivera recorded three outs for his major-league-leading 37th save in 40 chances. Rivera's 320th save tied him with former Ray Roberto Hernandez for ninth place on the career list.
Baltimore's Jerry Hairston, making his first career start in centerfield, hit his second home run of the season in the third inning.
The Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the fourth with some strong baserunning. Rodriguez singled and moved to third on Hideki Matsui's bloop single to center with one out.
Matsui took off for second as Ruben Sierra struck out on a 3-and-2 pitch, then stopped in the middle of the basepath while Rodriguez broke for home. Javy Lopez's throw to second was wide, and Brian Roberts' return throw to the plate was low, allowing Rodriguez to slide safely.
Though it wasn't a straight steal, Rodriguez became the first Yankee to swipe home since Derek Jeter on May 5, 2001, at Baltimore. Tony Clark followed with a run-scoring single, then New York chased rookie Erik Bedard (4-6) in the fifth.
Jeter blooped a run-scoring triple to right - Karim Garcia had trouble tracking it down - and scored on Sheffield's groundout to make it 4-1. Rodriguez followed with a mammoth homer to left-center, his 27th of the season and second in as many days. The ball landed in the Yankee bullpen, at least 450 feet from home plate.
The Yankees recalled outfielder Bubba Crosby from Triple-A Columbus to replace first baseman Jason Giambi, receiving treatment for a benign tumor. Giambi was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 24.