A heavenly sweep gets Yanks back to .500
As far as the Yankees are concerned, the Angels were heaven sent.
The visitors from Orange County, Calif., have 10 players on the disabled list, although with reigning American League Most Valuable Player Mike Trout and former three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols the Halos can still do some damage.
Just not against the Yankees this week. The Yanks returned from a 4-8 trip through four cities to the comfort of Yankee Stadium and a struggling foe from the AL West and completed a four-game sweep that got them back to .500 at 30-30.
It was the Yankees’ first four-game sweep of the Angels since July 21-24, 1994 at Anaheim and their first at the Stadium since July 22-25, 1993. They have won 10 consecutive games outside their division. This is also HOPE Week, the Yankees’ community-service initiative that has been something of a good-luck charm for the team. Since HOPE Week’s founding in 2009, the first year of the current Stadium, the Yankees are 27-10 (.730) during those weeks. They have won 15 of the past 17 HOPE Week games.
Thursday night’s 6-3 victory was fashioned primarily from a five-run fifth inning against Angels starter Jhoulys Chacin, who was obtained last month from the Braves. The Yankees entered the inning trailing 1-0, but a one-out, RBI single by Chris Parmelee tied the score.
After Jacoby Ellsbury singled and Brett Gardner walked to load the bases, Carlos Beltran doubled for two runs, Alex Rodriguez contributed a scoring fly ball and Brian McCann doubled in a run.
Ivan Nova, who scared the Yankees last Saturday when he nearly gave back all of a 7-0 lead, yielded a two-run, pinch-hit home run to Jefry Marte in the seventh, but the bullpen trio that has earned a new nickname kept the game from getting out of control. Nova has pitched at least six innings in five straight starts.
Thursday night marked the first game the Yankees marketed t-shirts for “No Runs DMC,” a takeoff on the rap group Run DMC. The letters obviously stand for D (Dellin Betances), M (Andrew Miller) and C (Aroldis Chapman). They combined for 2 2/3 innings of shutout, two-hit, four-strikeout relief. The Yankees are 8-0 with a 1.85 ERA in the game when all three relievers have pitched.
Rodriguez got his second RBI of the game in the seventh with a double that scored Gardner, who singled and made it around to third base on a balk and a wild pitch by reliever Cory Rasmus. Gardner had quite a series with eight hits in 15 at-bats (.533), seven runs, one double and two RBI. The left fielder is batting .556 in 27 at-bats in his seven-game hitting streak that has raised his season batting average from .211 to .261.
The Yankees have scored at least five runs in seven off their past eight games and are averaging six runs per game in that stretch while batting .323 in 282 at-bats.
One downer from Thursday night was the likely loss to injury of yet another first baseman. Parmelee had to be helped off the field after making a split to catch a throw from Didi Gregorius for the third out of the Angels seventh. Parmelee, who hit two home runs Wednesday night, was to undergo an MRI exam on his right hamstring and groin. Parmelee was only the second player to homer twice in his Yankees debut. The other was Roger Maris on Opening Day in 1960 at Boston. Greg Bird and Dustin Ackley have both had surgery this year and are out for the season, and Mark Teixeira is on the 15-day disabled list because of a cartilage tear in his right knee.
Who’s on first, indeed.