New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez came into Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels with 67 lifetime home runs against the Halos, by far the most he has hit against any team in the majors. His mastery of the Angels reached another level.
Rodriguez’ two-run homer with one out in the top of the sixth inning against starter Ervin Santana proved to be the game-winner, as the Yankees defeated the Angels 3-2, to even up the weekend series at Angel Stadium.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia continued his recent mastery as well, nearly going going the distance to win his fourth straight start.
Sabathia scattered six hits in his first eight innings, the lone run by the Angels coming unearned via a Derek Jeter bobble at shortstop in the fourth. Jeff Mathis drove in Howie Kendrick with a sacrifice fly to center field, briefly tying the game at 1-1.
In the top of the sixth, following a Curtis Granderson walk and Mark Teixeira flyout, Rodriguez deposited an Ervin Santana offering deep into the beyond in left field, giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
Santana was fairly sharp throughout, making two mistakes on the night. One to Rodriguez on a fastball up in the zone, and one to Robinson Cano on a breaking ball for a solo homer in the fourth, his 12th of the season.
The Halos mounted a charge with two outs in the ninth. Peter Bourjos singled to center, his first of the night, and moved to second on defensive indifference. Maicer Izturis followed with another single to center, scoring Bourjos and shrinking the Yankee lead to just one.
Sabathia was done, and on came Mariano Rivera, making his 1003rd appearance to tie Goose Gossage for 14th on the all-time list.
All it took was one pitch to Erick Aybar, and Rivera had his 15th save season after Aybar weakly popped up to short.
After the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that while Santana’s effort certainly gave his Halos a chance to win, the same old problem–hitting with runners in scoring position–reared its ugly head once again.
“Sabathia changed speeds real well, and had that good changeup. Tonight we couldn’t get that hit that might have gotten us the lead that we could hold,” Scioscia said.
“Sabathia pitched well, I don’t think there were any surprises.We’ve seen him enough, our guys have seen him, we know what he likes to do, but when he’s on and does it well, it’s still tough to get something going off him, and we saw that tonight.”
The Angels will look to take the weekend series on Sunday afternoon when they send Joel Pineiro to the mound to face the rejuvenated Bartolo Colon. With the loss tonight, and Texas shutting out the Indians earlier, the Angels are now 3 1/2 games back in the AL West.
All quotes in this article were acquired via first-hand reporting on site at Angels Stadium.