CC Sabathia MLB's 1st 18-game winner as Marcus Thames, Yankees outslug White Sox

CHICAGO -- CC Sabathia has picked up the Yankees several times this season with dominant performances on the mound.

This time, New York's bruising lineup did most of the work.

Sabathia became the majors' first 18-game winner, Marcus Thames hit two of New York's four homers and the Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox 12-9 on Saturday night.

Eduardo Nunez hit his first career homer and drove in four runs for New York, which remained tied with Tampa Bay for the AL East lead. Nick Swisher connected for a two-run drive and Robinson Cano had three hits.

Nunez was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre when Lance Berkman went on the disabled list Aug. 19. He has made five starts at third base in place of ailing Alex Rodriguez and is batting .333.

"He was the star of the night, going 3-for-4, pretty much saving us," Sabathia said.

Sabathia (18-5) struck out nine, but allowed five runs and nine hits. The big left-hander has won five consecutive starts and is 14-2 with a 2.55 ERA in his last 17 outings.

Sabathia had to navigate the White Sox lineup with an ineffective changeup.

"I just tried throwing fastball in a little more," he said. "I still have to throw my changeup, it's one of the pitches I use a lot. I just try to throw in and get them off the plate a little bit."

It was a much-needed victory for New York, which was coming off an ugly 9-4 loss in the series opener and had dropped three of four overall.

"This was a big game. This has been a trip where we had some tough losses," manager Joe Girardi said. "CC did a nice job, he gave up a couple of home runs on changeups then he settled down nicely and got us through the seventh."

But the Yankees also lost Mark Teixeira after two innings to a bruised right thumb. The Gold Glove first baseman fielded Gordon Beckham's routine grounder and slowly stepped on first for the final out of the second, then was taken down for a pinch hitter in the third.

Teixeira said he injured his thumb on Friday while making a diving stop.

"I tried to take BP today and I thought maybe adrenaline would kick in and I would be all right for the game, but I had nothing, I swung with one hand," he said. "I'm going to get here early tomorrow and get some treatment and see it how feels."

Paul Konerko hit his 32nd homer and finished with four RBIs for the White Sox, who had won three of four. Chicago fell 4½ games back of AL Central-leading Minnesota, which beat Seattle 1-0.

Konerko hit an RBI single off David Robertson in the ninth to cut it to 12-9, but Mariano Rivera closed it out for his 26th save in 28 opportunities.

"They score 12 runs and we come back and make those guys bring in the best closer in the game," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

After Carlos Quentin grounded into a double play, Rivera yielded a single to Ramon Castro and walked Andruw Jones before Mark Teahen lined out to second to end the game.

The Yankees got off to a fast start against John Danks (12-9), belting two-run homers in each of the first three innings to build a 6-1 lead. Swisher hit his 24th in the first, connecting for the second straight day against his former team. Nunez got his first one in the second and Thames went deep in the third.

"You score five runs off of CC Sabathia, you have to find a way to win that game," Danks said. "I have to take full responsibility for this one."

Konerko and Jones each hit a two-run shot to get Chicago within one, but the Yankees responded with four runs in the fifth. Posada hit a two-run double off Tony Pena and Nunez singled in a pair to make it 10-5.

Alexei Ramirez also homered for Chicago, which finished with 16 hits. Jones went 3 for 3 and scored twice.

Thames also connected in the ninth, helping Sabathia improve to 16-4 in his career against the White Sox.

Game notes
LHP Andy Pettitte (strained left groin) will throw another bullpen session on Sunday. Rodriguez (strained left calf) may take swings on Monday, according to Girardi. Berkman (right ankle sprain) is going to try to run Sunday and if all goes well he may begin a rehab assignment Monday. ... The White Sox placed reliever Erick Threets on the 15-day disabled list with a torn ligament in his left elbow. Threets will miss the remainder of the season. RHP Carlos Torres was promoted from Triple-A Charlotte and allowed two runs and six hits over 3 1/3 innings against New York.