Yanks salvage finale of 3-4 trip
Years ago when the Angels scheduled 4 p.m. games at home, they liked to start Nolan Ryan. As if trying to hit the strikeout king’s blazing fastball was not hard enough, try doing it when it is twilight time.
The situation bode well for the Yankees Wednesday with the 4 p.m. start at Anaheim because their starting pitcher was Nathan Eovaldi, who grew up in the same home town as Ryan (Alvin, Texas) and throws nearly as hard. In fact, Eovaldi dialed up one of his fastballs in the game all the way to 100 mph.
Yet it was the not the strikeout fest that might have been expected from Eovaldi, who got the winning decision in the Yankees’ 3-1 victory, not because he was overpowering but rather because he had an effective breaking ball and kept Angels hitters off-balance for most of his 5 1/3 innings. The Yankees won three games on the seven-game trip, and Eovaldi (8-2) was the winning pitcher in two of them.
The Yankees had scored only one run in each of their previous three games and had the same total for the first five innings Wednesday before Garrett Jones drove a 0-2 fastball from Matt Shoemaker to right field for his fifth home run. The Yanks filled the bases in the eighth but came away with only one run on a single by Didi Gregorius, but that would be insurance enough thanks to solid work by the bullpen.
After Eovaldi walked two batters to load the bases with one out in the sixth, Chasen Shreve doused the flames by getting Erick Aybar on an infield fly and David Freese on a grounder to Chase Headley, one of eight assists by the third baseman in the game. He also drove in the Yankees’ first run with one of his three hits, a two-out single in the third inning.
Shreve followed with a scoreless sixth before his left-handed partner, Justin Wilson, took over in the eighth. After two quick outs, Wilson was taken deep by Mike Trout, whose 21st homer accounted for Los Angeles’ only run.
Dellin Betances came on at that point for a four-out save (No. 7), although it got dicey in the ninth with two walks. The big guy finished it off with a strikeout of pinch hitter C.J. Cron. The Angels were hitless in 23 at-bats with runners in scoring position in the series, which makes it amazing that they won two of the three games.
The Yankees moved into second place in the American League East by a half-game over the Rays, who were nearly no-hit by the Indians Wednesday night. Tampa Bay travels to New York to face the Yankees in a three-game series over the 4th of July weekend