California Dreamin’! Yankees Wipeout Angels In Series Finale


May 7, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; New York Yankees shortstop

Derek Jeter

(2) hits a home run in the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

They hit early, they hit often. Before the dust settled, the New York Yankees emphatically put their stamp on this series, ridding themselves of opposing starter Hector Santiago, and the LA Angels of Anaheim in the series finale. Santiago lasted 2 1/3 innings, allowing 6 runs, 2 of which were earned, and became a spectator too early for Halos’ skipper Mike Scioscia‘s liking.

The Yankees’ attack started the way it should every night. Jacoby Ellsbury draws a walk, Derek Jeter hits the ball and forces an error, Carlos Beltran draws a walk to load the bases, and Mark Teixeira strikes his former team with a 2-run double, and the Angels are in trouble before a single batter is retired. Alfonso Soriano breaks up the rally, albeit briefly when he strikes out. AL Rookie of the Year contender Yangervis Solarte drives in another run with a sac fly, Brett Gardner singles, driving in Tex, and Roberts completes the scoring in the first inning with another RBI single, driving in Gardner after a wild pitch.

That was just the first inning. After Vidal Nuno got through his side of the first unscathed, the Captain, Derek Jeter, making the final appearance of his storied career in Anaheim, hit a 2-out solo shot over the left field wall, making it 6-0 Yankees. Through the first four innings, the Yankees racked up 8 hits. Nuno, who came into the game with an ERA over 6, only had to pitch to contact and let his defense play. The Angels got a single run back in their half of the second inning. Howie Kendrick and C.J. Cron reached on back-to-back singles, and Kendrick came home on a fielder’s choice ground out by Erick Aybar.

The Angels burned through multiple arms, while Nuno finally pitched the way he had last year, and similar to how he did during spring training to earn a spot on the 25-man roster. Through six innings, he threw 77 pitches, and held Anaheim’s two big guns: Albert Pujols and Mike Trout to a combined 0-for-6. At one point from the 2nd inning through the start of the 7th, Nuno had retired 13 consecutive batters before Cron led the inning off with a double. After a long fly out to retire Aybar, Joe Girardi made the pitching change, bringing in the hard-throwing Dellin Betances. Nuno’s final line: 6 1/3 innings, 1 ER, 3 Ks and 1 walk–easily his best outing of 2014 and good enough to earn another start. After walking his first hitter, and allowing former Yankees’ hero Raul Ibanez to beat the shift for a base hit, Betances retired Colin Cowgill on a fly ball to Ellsbury.

The Yankees started off their eighth inning by getting Solarte and Gardner on the corners with nobody out. Brian Roberts stepped to the plate, and drew a walk to load the bases. After another Angels’ pitching change, John Ryan Murphy drove home both Solarte and Gardner to make it 8-1. Ellsbury then smashed a ball off the glove of Kendrick, to load the bases again. Jeter grounded back to the mound, and Roberts was retired at the plate. The bases remained loaded as Jeter beat the return throw to first. Carlos Beltran then flirted with a grand slam, but settled for a long sac fly to right field, scoring Murphy, and pushing the score to 9-1. The Angels added a late run in the eighth on an RBI single that just got under the glove of a diving Ellsbury, scoring Trout, making it 9-2 Yankees.

Five Yankees’ hitters had two hits each: Ellsbury, Jeter, Solarte, Gardner and Murphy. Teixeira and Murphy both drove in two runs apiece, while Jeter and Gardner both scored a pair of runs each. Derek Jeter, having played his last game against the Angels, is the only remaining active player who played against the Angels when they were called the California Angels, when Alex Rodriguez returns next season, he will be the other.

After an off-day on Thursday, the Yankees open a weekend series at Miller Park in Milwaukee against the first place Brewers. The Bombers send their new ace, Masahiro Tanaka (4-0, 2.53) to the hill against Yovani Gallardo (2-1, 2.47). This should be a pretty good pitcher’s duel, and Tanaka will get the chance to hit for the first time in his big league career. Gallardo is just 5-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.