Friday, July 13, 2012
Angels do everything except finish it off
By Mike Mazzeo
C.J. Wilson was in line for the victory Friday before the Angels' bullpen suffered a rare implosion.
NEW YORK -- The Los Angeles Angels got exactly what they wanted: seven innings of two-run ball from southpaw C.J. Wilson and a lead heading into the eighth.
But as their normally untouchable bullpen found out Friday night, no lead is safe at Yankee Stadium.
Scott Downs gave up four earned runs in two-thirds of an inning and the Angels blew a 5-2 lead, ultimately falling to the New York Yankees, 6-5.
“It’s been almost a no-brainer all year,” said Mark Trumbo, who blasted an estimated 435-foot three-run homer -- his team-leading 23rd of the season -- in the seventh to put the Angels up, 4-2. “This one of those anomalies that you probably won’t see for a long time.”
He’s probably right.
Consider: The Angels have blown just two saves in their past 29 games, while Downs had given up just one earned run in his first 30 appearances this season, pitching to an unfathomable 0.30 ERA.
“I just made a couple mistakes,” Downs said. “And good hitters hit mistakes, and that’s what they hit.”
Derek Jeter led off the eighth by staying inside a sinker from the left-hander and driving it into right-center for a double. Curtis Granderson followed by laying off a 3-2 sinker and drawing a walk.
Then Downs hung a curveball when he was ahead in the count to Mark Teixeira, and just like that, the score was tied.
“There’s no excuse,” replied Downs, who hadn’t give up three runs in a game since Aug. 28, 2010, when asked if the layoff during the All-Star break was the reason for his poor outing. “I felt fine. That’s just baseball.
“It’s behind me. It was already behind me until you all came up and started talking about it.”
Russell Martin went out and poked a two-out single off Kevin Jepsen, capping off a four-run frame and giving the Yankees a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
“It’s tough to stomach,” Trumbo said. “It’s just a credit to them. They’re just a really potent lineup. In this ballpark, no lead is safe.”
Wilson, who allowed five hits, walked two and struck out seven, navigated through New York’s potent lineup like an All-Star should, escaping jams in the sixth and seventh, and was in line to pick up his 10th victory of the season before Downs’ rare implosion.
“I just wasn’t able to go the distance,” said Wilson, who is undefeated in his past seven road starts. “And anytime you don’t throw a complete game, there’s things that happen that are out of your control.”
Added manager Mike Scioscia: “He made some pitches. C.J. was in command of his counts much better tonight than he had been in some of his earlier starts. It could've been the extended rest [Wilson had to skip out on participating in the All-Star Game due to blisters and fingernail issues on his pitching hand], but he felt good and made some great pitches. That's a strong game against a lineup that will make you work for everything.”
On Friday night, the Angels did everything right -- except finish.