Robinson Cano is on fire and his opposite field two-run homer helped fuel his MVP run. (Image: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE)

Mid-Summer Scorcher: Cano extends sizzling hit streak to 17 as Yankees drop Angels

As the baseball season enters the middle of July, it is also fitting that speculation and competition surrounding which players will be considered for the Most Valuable Player Award in the American League is scorching hot. Two of the front-runners did their best to outpace the other, but only one came out on top in Saturday’s 5-3 New York Yankees victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano extended his hit streak to seventeen games with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning and ended up driving in one more run with a single later in the game to pace the Yankees second straight win (third overall) after returning from the All-Star break. The Angels’ MVP candidate, Mike Trout, did everything he could to keep his team in the game, going 3-for-5 with a run scored and two stolen bases.

Trout led off the game with an infield single off Yankees starter Freddy Garcia and came around to score along with Erick Aybar on Alberto Callaspo‘s single, giving the Angels a quick 2-0 lead. The Bombers wouldn’t be down long as Derek Jeter started off the Yankees’ first inning with an infield hit of his own and scored on Cano’s two-out two-run blast to the opposite field.

The Yankees would extend their lead in the third on a two-run homer off the bat of Curtis Granderson, his 24th homer of the season. That was all that Garcia (4-2) would need for the victory, though he was clearly not in command in this one. Garcia allowed three earned runs on five hits and five walks while striking out four in just five innings of work. The bullpen was once again stellar, tossing a total of four innings of scoreless ball.

Cody Eppley, one of the bigger surprises of the season for the Yankees, worked two frames, allowing a lone single to Bobby Wilson. David Robertson struck out two in the eighth inning and Rafael Soriano was once again excellent in the ninth, closing out the Halos for his 22nd save in 23 chances.

The Yankees (54-33) maintain a stranglehold over the American League East as they remain eight games up on the Baltimore Orioles, who won in extra innings yesterday. The Angels (48-40) stick five games behind the Texas Rangers, who also lost, in the AL West.

In the series finale this afternoon at Yankee Stadium, the Yanks send ten-game winner Ivan Nova (10-3, 3.92 ERA) out to face a contender for the American League Cy Young Award, Jered Weaver (10-1, 1.96 ERA). Nova has a 3-1 record against the Angels in his career, but owns a 5.11 ERA in the process. He’ll have to be better than that as Weaver is on a tear. Before the All-Star break, Weaver had allowed only one run in his last 27 2/3 innings pitched. He is 5-2 with a 4.79 ERA in his career against the Yankees.

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Tags: AL Cy Young Cody Eppley Curtis Granderson Derek Jeter Freddy Garcia Ivan Nova Jered Weaver Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim Mike Trout Most Valuable Player New York Yankees Rafael Soriano Robinson Cano Yankee Stadium Yankees

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