Yanks come up small at Big A

Anaheim was not the soft landing for the Yankees that it has been for so many other clubs this season. The Angels have a losing record at home but improved it to 16-18 Friday night with a 5-2 victory. And if the Yankees ever needed a soft landing, it was Friday night coming after an 18-inning loss at Oakland the day before.

Losing Friday night means that the best the Yankees can do on the West Coast trip is play .500 – and that is if they win Saturday and Sunday, quite a comedown after they began by taking three of four games at Seattle.

Andy Pettitte couldn’t turn the tide for the Yanks, who have lost four in a row. The lefthander gave up 11 hits in seven innings and was charged with four runs, although one was definitely not his fault. A mix-up in the infield put a runner on base who eventually scored. But that was in the seventh inning when the run was essentially a tack-on. Once again, a lame Yankees offense was more responsible for the loss than the pitching or defense. Left fielder Vernon Wells and second baseman David Adams threw out runners at the plate or the score would have been a lot worse.

Adams drove in the Yanks’ two runs to end a 20-inning scoring drought with a two-out, bases-loaded single in the fourth inning off C.J. Wilson (5-5) that gave Pettitte (5-4) the lead but only briefly. The Angels tied the score in the bottom of that inning on a sacrifice fly by Chris Iannetta. The Los Angeles catcher drove in another run in the sixth with a single that put the Angels ahead for good.

Adams, whose hit was only his second in a stretch of 30 at-bats, made a mental mistake in the seventh by letting a popup by Peter Bourjos fall between him and shortstop Reid Brignac for a leadoff single. Adams said later that he thought Brignac called for the ball, which the shortstop did not. Pettitte nearly offset the blunder by striking out Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton but gave up singles to Albert Pujols and Mike Trumbo that pushed Bourjos across the plate.

Pettitte’s career record at Angel Stadium fell to 7-9 with a 4.17 ERA and overall record against the Angels dropped to 14-12 with a 4.51 ERA that will take some of the “happy” out of his 41st birthday Saturday.

Notice those LA names. The Angels got major contributions from the middle of the order that the Yankees have lacked. Pujols, Trumbo and Howie Kendrick, the 3-4-5 hitters, combined to go 8-for-12 (.667) with three runs scored and two RBI. The Yanks’ counterparts of Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Wells provided a 2-for-10 (.200) combination with two runs but no RBI.

By scoring in only two of the past 29 innings, the Yankees have been tempted to jump start the offense in ways that can backfire. Brett Gardner, who has been the Yanks’ steadiest hitter lately, made a base-running rock by trying to cross from second to third base in the fifth on a grounder to shortstop and was dead meat.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi used both new men who arrived from the minors. Thomas Neal started in right field and reached base twice with a single and a walk. Chris Bootcheck pitched the eighth and gave up a run on a two-out single by Trout.

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