A walk-off before the ninth inning

The Angels walked all over the Yankees Monday night — literally. Los Angeles unlocked a 1-1 game with three Yankees relievers providing the keys. The Halos scored three runs without a hit as the Yankees issued six walks — five of them in succession after two were out and only one was intentional.

It was a dismal way to open a road trip following a disappointing, 3-5 home stand during which the Yankees continually failed in the clutch by going 7-for-63 (.111) with runners in scoring position. Maybe what they needed was to walk more often. The Angels were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position but won the game thanks to three consecutive bases on balls with the bases loaded.

The Yanks were actually 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position but failed to take advantage of a golden opportunity in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases against Jered Weaver on three singles with none out. Just as quickly, however, the rally died as Brett Gardner struck out and Derek Jeter grounded into a double play.

The Yankees had issues with plate umpire Laz Diaz’s strike zone all night and paid for their disagreement with two ejections. Manager Joe Girardi was tossed for arguing balls and strikes during Gardner’s at-bat in the eighth. Losing pitcher Shawn Kelley was heaved after shouting at Diaz while walking off the mound following his four-walk, three-run disaster in the bottom of the eighth.

It was a tough break for David Phelps, who did a fine job in his start replacing the disabled Ivan Nova. Phelps gave up one run, three hits and a walk with three strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. Howie Kendrick tripled to lead off the fifth and scored on an infield out with Jeter making a fine play covering a ton of ground on an over-shift setup against Ian Stewart.

Jeter also showed positive signs of getting his groove back offensively by ending a 0-for-14 swoon with a single and a double. Too bad neither hit came when those bases were full in the eighth. Mark Teixeira kept up his productive stroke with an RBI single in the seventh for the Yankees’ only run.

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