Sometimes he is maddenly inconsistent. Sometimes he is maddenly amazing. Chalk up today as one of these amazing days for Melky Cabrera. Cabrera became the 15th Yankees player to hit for the cycle, leading New York to an 8-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Cabrera hit a three-run homer in the second to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead, doubled in the fourth and hit an RBI single in the fifth. He then tripled to right leading off the ninth.

The four hits by Cabrera also tied a career-high and lifted the Yankees to a much-needed win after a 14-4 pounding the previous day left them just a half-game ahead of Boston in the AL East.

Staked to the early lead after Cabrera’s 10th homer, CC Sabathia quickly gave it back in the third inning when Jermaine Dye hit a two-run shot and Jim Thome followed with his 559th home run. The Yankees responded, scoring two each in the fourth and fifth to grab a 7-4 lead, and Sabathia settled down. PeteAbe reported that Sabathia got angry and told Jose Molina that “that was all they are gonna get.”

In the eighth inning after Sabathia exited the game, Phil Hughes struck out Jermaine Dye and walked Jim Thome to put runners on first and second, bringing the tying run to the plate. Paul Konerko then struck out before Carlos Quentin hit an RBI single off Mariano Rivera, who had just entered the game, to make it 7-5.

Rivera then pitched a scoreless ninth for his 30th save in 31 chances.