In order for the New York Yankees to maintain their comfortable lead in the American League East, they are going to need contributions from some members of the team who were not exactly at the top of their game in the first-half of the season. They got performances from two such players last night in a dramatic come from behind victory over the Los Angeles Angels by a score of 6-5.
While Mark Teixeira continued to drive in runs in the first-half of the season, he’d probably tell you he wished he had done more with the bat. His two homers and five RBI could be the jumpstart to a second half full of promise.
Russell Martin, who had one of the more miserable first-half performances with the stick in recent memory, had an electric game behind the plate and drove in the game-winning run with an eighth-inning single.
Teixeira had put the Yankees up 2-1, with a two-run blast in the third inning, giving Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda the lead. Kuroda pitched well from that point until the seventh inning.
He allowed a leadoff single to Albert Pujols and then hit Kendrys Morales with a pitch. Mark Trumbo drilled a three-run homer to left center field handing the lead back to his starter C.J. Wilson. The Angels would tack on another run in the eighth on doubles by Mike Trout and Pujols. Kuroda finished with five earned runs on eight hits (two homers) and one walk allowed in 7 1/3 innings.
Scott Downs entered the game in place of Wilson in the bottom of the eighth. Downs has been spectacular this season in both a set-up and closer role for the Halos. He got his wings clipped last night. Derek Jeter doubled to open the frame, his second hit of the night. Curtis Granderson worked a walk and Teixeira launched his 17th homer of the season to tie the game at five.
Downs got Alex Rodriguez to ground out and Robinson Cano to line out. Nick Swisher had a great at-bat working a walk to set the table for the Yankees. The Angels brought in right-hander Kevin Jepsen to take over for Downs. Raul Ibanez came on to pinch-hit for Andruw Jones. Swisher was replaced by Dewayne Wise at first base and he promptly stole second. Ibanez was eventually intentionally walked with Martin on deck.
No one could see the fault in Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia’s decision with Martin mired in a massive slump and the Yankees sitting at 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. At the same point, this seemed like a great spot for Martin as he was having an excellent game on the defensive side game, throwing out two would be base-stealers. Martin delivered a clutch line drive single to right scoring Wise propelling the Yankees into the lead.
Rafael Soriano entered the game looking for his 21st save in 22 chances. He struck out Alberto Callaspo and then allowed a single to Howie Kendrick. Erick Aybar, who homered in the third inning, popped up for the second out. With pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis at the plate, Soriano threw a ball in the dirt that Martin kept in front of him. Kendrick took off assuming the ball got past or further away from Martin, but Martin picked up the ball on a bounce and in one motion threw to Jeter at second nabbing Kendrick to end the game.
The win moved the Yankees (53-33) to twenty games over .500 and increased their lead in the American League East to eight games over the Baltimore Orioles. The Angels (48-39) are now five games back of AL West leading Texas, but are still sitting in the first wild card spot in the American League.
This afternoon the Yankees send Freddy Garcia (3-2, 5.23 ERA) to the mound to face Jerome Williams (6-5, 4.46 ERA). Garcia owns a 15-3 record with a 2.57 ERA in 27 career starts against the Angels. Williams is coming off the disabled list and has very little history against the Yankees lineup.
Tags: Albert Pujols Alex Rodriguez Andruw Jones C.J. Wilson Curtis Granderson Derek Jeter Dewayne Wise Freddy Garcia Hiroki Kuroda Howie Kendrick Kendrys Morales Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim Mark Teixeira Mark Trumbo Mike Trout New York Yankees Nick Swisher Rafael Soriano Raul Ibanez Robinson Cano Russell Martin Yankee Stadium Yankees