Just like American Pharoah, Yanks go wire-to-wire
Fresh in the Yankees’ minds was the memory of the Angels turning an 8-1 game into an 8-7 game with a six-run rally in the ninth inning Friday night, so the Yanks broke out of the gate much the same way American Pharoah did a few minutes earlier at Belmont Park in ending a 37-year drought of Triple Crown thoroughbred winners.
The Yankees flat-out mugged Garrett Richards, who failed to make it out of the first inning. They quickly loaded the bases on walks to Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez book-ending a single by Chase Headley. American League RBI leader Mark Teixeira got his 44th on a fly ball to center field.
After Richards wild-pitched Headley home, Brian McCann launched a two-run home run to right. The Yankees weren’t finished, either. Carlos Beltran re-started the rally with an infield single against the shift. Didi Gregorius also singled on a flare to center. Center fielder Mike Trout’s throw to third base trying for Beltran hit the runner in the back, which also allowed Gregorius to get to second. First baseman Albert Pujols tried to trap Gregorius off second on a ground ball by Stephen Drew, but shortstop Eric Aybar missed the tag, as the replay showed, which reversed the umpire’s call and loaded the bases for the Yankees.
Richards had a brief reprieve when he struck out Ramon Flores, but Gardner in his second at-bat of the inning lined a single to right field for two more runs, a 6-0 Yankees lead and the end of the line for Richards. The Yankees tagged on another run in the second inning off lefthander Cesar Ramos on successive singles by Teixeira, McCann and Beltran, the last of which was actually hit off another lefthander, Hector Santiago.
Now the question was whether this seven-run lead would hold up without an onslaught similar to the previous game.
Benefiting from all the runs was Adam Warren, who has not had a bevy of run support this year. The righthander retired the Angels in order the first time through the batting order. Aybar was the Halos’ first base runner on an infield single leading off the fourth. Headley made a diving, back-handed grab of a scorching line drive by Trout, which proved an important out because Warren walked the next two batters to load the bases. He got out of the jam by getting David Freese to ground into a double play.
Santiago, normally a starter, brought some order to the Angels’ pitching with 3 2/3 shutout innings in which he allowed two hits and struck out three. Los Angeles got on the board against Warren in the fifth, although the inning could have been uglier after a leadoff double by Matt Joyce and Warren hitting C.J. Cron with a pitch. A sacrifice fly by Johnny Giavotella accounted for the run. Trout got the Angels a second run in the sixth with a home run, his 15th, to right field.
Warren nearly made it through seven innings. A two-out walk in the seventh ended his night, but he evened his record at 4-4 with lefthanders Justin Wilson and Chris Capuano mopping up. The Yankees had only one hit from the third through the seventh but picked up another run on a bases-loaded walk to Teixeira (RBI No. 45) in the eighth.
And this time the visiting ninth was tame, thanks to Capuano’s perfect inning with two strikeouts.