Rapid Reaction: Yankees 9, Angels 2
May, 8, 2014
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The New York Yankees and Derek Jeter left the Big A in style Wednesday, the team with a series win after losing the first game two nights ago, and Jeter with two hits, his first home run of the season, and a new paddleboard.
Vidal Nuno pitched a low-key gem, Mark Teixeira and John Ryan Murphy had two RBIs each, and Dellin Betances manhandled Albert Pujols in the 9-2 win that sends the Yankees off to Milwaukee on a positive note.
Captain Crunch: Just one day after Brian Roberts good-naturedly needled him for being the last Yankees regular without a home run, Jeter erased that zero from his record with a line shot over the left-field fence to make it 6-0 in the second. The HR, Jeter's first since July 28, was the 257th of his career and moved him into 190th place on baseball's all-time HR list, so Hank Aaron need not worry yet.
Over before it began: The Angels essentially played themselves out of this one in the first inning, starting with Collin Cowgill jostling Mike Trout, who was camped under Jeter's routine fly ball, resulting in an error that put runners on the corners.
After Carlos Beltran walked, Teixeira delivered a two-run double up the left-field line.
But the Halos weren't done there.
After Yangervis Solarte's sacrifice fly scored Beltran, Angels starter Hector Santiago's throwing error on Brett Gardner's grounder scored Teixeira with the fourth run. Santiago then threw a wild pitch to Brian Roberts, moving Gardner to third. Gardner would score on Roberts' single, giving the Yankees a 5-0 first-inning lead.
High Noon: Vidal Nuno worked a career-high 6 1/3 innings and held the Angels to one run on just four hits, at one point retiring 13 straight hitters. The only L.A. run scored on Erick Aybar's forceout in the fourth inning. Solid performance in every respect.
Futile fourth: The Yankees missed a great chance to bust the game wide open when they loaded the bases with none out in the fourth on a leadoff single by Murphy, a double by Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeter's infield single.
But Beltran grounded to Pujols at first, who fired home for the forceout, but Beltran beat the throw back to first. No matter. Teixeira hit virtually the same ball and this time, Pujols and catcher Chris Iannetta were able to complete the 3-2-3 double play to end the inning.
Sole survivor: Just when you think the league is starting to figure him out, Solarte comes up with another good game. Two hits, a single and double, and an RBI sacrifice fly, and his BA is back up to .309.
Dellin the truth: Betances, who came on in relief of Nuno, fell behind 2-0 on Pujols in the eighth -- and then came back to strike him out with the next three pitches, two 97-mph fastballs and an 82-mph curve.
Farewell, Cap: In his last game at the Big A, Jeter was honored in a brief pregame ceremony that included a video tribute and the gift of a standup paddleboard. Pujols, Trout, Howie Kendrick and Jered Weaver were among the Angels players who exchanged handshakes and bro-hugs with Jeter on the field. Jeter got huge ovations every time he came to bat, and when Kevin Jepsen struck him out in the sixth, the home crowd booed the pitcher.
What's next: Overnight flight to Milwaukee followed by an off-day tomorrow, and then a three-game weekend series against the red-hot Brewers, highlighted by the fun of watching the Yankees' pitchers try to hit.
The matchups for this weekend: Masahiro Tanaka (4-0, 2.53) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-1, 2.47) on Friday, first pitch at 8:10 p.m.; CC Sabathia (3-4, 5.75) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse Saturday at 7:10 p.m., and David Phelps (0-0, 3.18) vs. RHP Matt Garza (2-3, 4.93) at 2:10 p.m. Sunday.