Rapid Reaction: Angels 5, Yankees 1

May, 30, 2012
5/30/12
12:44
AM ET
What it means: That the euphoria of the weekend, when the Yankees swept the Oakland Athletics to run up a season-high five-game win streak, has given over to the desperation of trying to avoid a sweep by the Angels in Wednesday's finale after tonight's 4-1 loss.

Pettitte pretty good: But not quite good enough. Once again, Andy Pettitte gave the Yankees distance (7+ innings), kept them in the game (left trailing 4-1), got 12 ground ball outs, showed excellent control (no walks), but was simply outpitched by Dan Haren, who was outstanding for the Halos (7IP, 1ER, 0 BBs, 7Ks).

Albert goes boom: Albert Pujols had not homered in 24 lifetime at-bats against Pettitte, a streak of futility that came to an end in the third inning, when he crushed Pettitte's cutter way into the left-field seats to give the Angels a 3-0 lead. Pujols, who had not homered until May 6, now has eight for the season and five in his last eight games.

On the rocks, please: Mark Trumbo's sixth-inning solo blast off Pettitte landed halfway up the rockpile behind the centerfield fence, about 450 feet from home plate, giving the Angels a 4-1 lead.

Ay-ay-ay!: Starting with the first play of the game, when he snagged Derek Jeter's hot shot near second base, rolled over, bounced his throw and still caught his man by a step, Angels SS Erick Aybar was a thorn in the Yankees side all night. Aybar saved a crucial run for the Halos in the eighth when his diving stop kept Mark Teixeira's ball in the infield, preventing Alex Rodriguez from scoring from second.

All shook up?: Since colliding with Nick Swisher in the outfield Monday night, Curtis Granderson is 0-for-8 with four Ks and three weak groundouts. On his last at-bat of the night, Grandy hit the ball hard, but was robbed by a diving catch by Trout in LF.

Hard luck Swish: Nick Swisher was victimized twice by spectacular plays in the outfield: in the second inning, he was robbed of a possible home run when Mike Trout climbed the wall to haul down his drive to left, and again in the seventh when Peter Bourjos ran down his rocket to right-center, ran full speed into the wall, crumpled to the warning track --and held on for the out. Swish belted another long drive to center with two on in the eighth, but Bourjos ran this one down rather conventionally on the warning track.

Ouch!: A-Rod took a 95-MPH fastball off the left elbow from Angels fireballer Ernesto Frieri in the ninth.

Fail horns: No Rally Monkey needed tonight, but the Price is Right fail horns were heard after every Yankee strikeout, and there were 10 of them. Never gets old.

Robby in reverse: Robinson Cano provided a chuckle in the eighth when, after bouncing to first baseman Mark Trumbo, stopped halfway up the baseline and began backpedaling towards home plate. He got tagged out anyway.

What's coming: Visit to the post-game clubhouse, after which I'll come back with a column. Can't wait to see what I write.

What about tomorrow?: The Yankees try to stave off the sweep with Ivan Nova (4-2, 5.69) facing RHP Ervin Santana (2-6, 4.22), first pitch at 10:05 p.m.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Brett Gardner
BA HR RBI R
.283 13 46 67
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 18
RBIM. Teixeira 50
RB. Gardner 67
OPSB. Gardner .812
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135