Results tagged ‘ Justin Wilson ’

Yankees mere kittens against Tigers

Might have things gone differently for the Yankees Friday if Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran had been in the lineup instead of on the bench in Detroit? Perhaps, but probably not. Jordan Zimmermann, in his first start for the Tigers since departing the Nationals and signed as a free agent, was strong enough Friday to shut down any lineup.

Get used to it, Yankees fans. With all the advanced age on the team roster, there are going to be days like Friday when manager Joe Girardi has to give some of his older players a blow. True, it was only the fourth game of the season, but Monday’s rainout forced the Yanks to play three games in a row against the Astros, which certainly played into Girardi’s decision.

There was no way McCann was going behind the plate for a fourth straight day. Giving Rodriguez a day off against a tough righthander allowed Mark Teixeira to be the designated hitter and take a break from first base. Beltran simply does not have the leg to play right field on a daily basis.

So Girardi went with a lineup that featured role players filling in for regulars behind the plate (Austin Romine), first base (Dustin Ackley) and right field (Aaron Hicks). The trio combined to go hitless with one walk (Romine) in nine plate appearances, but the rest of the batting order did not do much damage, either, as the Yankees were shutout victims just two days after they scored 16 runs in one game.

The run the Tigers scored in the first inning off Luis Severino on a single by Miguel Cabrera would be all they would need behind Zimmerman, who allowed two hits and three walks over seven innings, and two relievers, including former Yankees lefthander Justin Wilson. Detroit pitchers even cooled off red-hot Starlin Castro (0-for-4) and Didi Gregorius (0-for-3).

Detroit bunched four singles off Severino in the two-run fourth. The righthander ended up allowing 10 hits in five-plus innings although Ian Kinsler’s leadoff double in the first was the only hit for extra bases. The second of the Tigers’ 13 hits that went for extra bases was Cabrera’s first home run of the season, off Luis Cessa in the seventh.

The Yankees had only one runner get as far as second base.That was Teixeira in the seventh after a walk on a wild pitch by Zimmermann.

For the second straight game, Yankees pitchers did not walk a batter, but there was no paucity of base runners for the Tigers in their home opener. Johnny Barabato had another strong outing with two strikeouts in the seventh. The righthander has struck out five of the nine batters he has faced this season.

CC Sabathia is scheduled to start Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park to complete the rotation’s first turn. It has been an overall shabby start for the starters, who are a combined 1-2 with a 6.97 ERA. The best thing about the rotation has been its strikeout-to-walk ratio with 21 Ks and only one walk, but starters have allowed 28 hits, including six home runs, in 20 2/3 innings. That must improve.

Girardi won’t talk about postseason till Yanks qualify

As the Blue Jays’ lead in the American League East gets firmer by the day, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has begun to get questions about his plans for a potential wild card game. Girardi will not bite, and I do not blame him.

Girardi has taken the view that he will not discuss the postseason until the Yankees have qualified for it, which is only smart. There are still eight games remaining on the regular schedule, so why get ahead of himself?

Toronto remained four games up on the Yanks after both clubs won Saturday. The Yankees’ 2-1 victory over the White Sox at Yankee Stadium followed later in the day the Jays’ 10-8 triumph over the Rays at Rogers Centre. It remains a big hurdle for the Yankees to catch Toronto, but Girardi is not conceding anything yet. His view is that the Yanks need to keep winning no matter what — to stay on the Blue Jays’ tails and to ensure that should the wild card game be their entry into postseason play that they play that game at the Stadium.

Adam Warren had a shaky first inning but settled down to give the Yankees six quality innings. The run he gave up to the first two batters in the game — Adam Eaton singled, stole second and scored on a single by Jose Abreu — was the only one he allowed. Warren yielded another hit thar frame before Adam LaRoche hit into a double play.

Warren gave up no hits or runs after that inning but ran into some difficulty in the fifth after his string of 12 straight outs ended with the White Sox loading the bases on three walks and having to face Abreu again with two out.

“I just walked everybody to get to their best hitter and one of the best hitters in the game; yeah, that was real smart,” Warren said with a dose of sarcasm. “Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] and Mac [Brian McCann, catcher] calmed me down, and we stuck with the game plan.”

Warren stayed with a still muscular fastball against last year’s AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winner. After fouling off four straight pitches — three fastballs and a slider — Abreu swung through a 93-mph heater.

That was a crucial point in the game because it was still 1-0 White Sox. The Yankees finally got to Chicago starter John Danks in the sixth. Jacoby Ellsbury started things off with a single and a stolen base, an important steal because Chase Headley followed with a double that bounced over the fence in left-center. If not for swiping second, Ellsbury would have had to stop at third base on the two-bagger.

Alex Rodriguez then smoked a one-hopper off the glove of third baseman Mike Ott, the force of which sent the ball into the stands for another automatic double that chased home Chase with what proved the deciding run.

The bullpen took over from there with a perfect seventh from Justin Wilson, a perfect eighth from Dellin Betances and a perfect ninth from Andrew Miller (36th save) to preserve the victory for Warren (7-7). The final 13 Chicago batters were retired in order.

“Those three guys have been doing it all year,” Warren said. “We feel that if we have the lead after six we have the game won.”

The four strikeouts by the relief corps boosted the pen’s season total to 573, breaking by two the AL record the Yankees set last year. The all-time record for strikeouts by a bullpen is 589 by the Rockies in 2012.

Warren improved his record at the Stadium this year to 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA in 42 2/3 innings. He has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his seven home starts this season. Warren has given up three or fewer runs in each of his past 12 starts dating to May 8. That matches the longest such single-season stretch by a Yankees pitcher since Ron Guidry from June 2 through Sept. 29, 1981.t

Thank Heathcott for September callups

I doubt you will be hearing Yankees manager Joe Girardi gripe about the inequities in roster expansion in September, a favorite topic of his. Not after what happened Monday night, not after a player who was just called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre two days ago delivered the critical blow in what was perhaps the Yanks’ most improbable victory of the season.

This was a tale of two games, really, well, one inning and the other eight, actually. The Yankees were no-hit for seven innings, still scoreless after eight and facing a damaging loss to the Rays with two outs and nobody on in the ninth.

Then, you guessed it, somebody walked, the play that starts so many inconceivable rallies. The somebody was Brett Gardner, who just as quickly put himself in scoring position with a steal of second base.

Rays righthander Brad Boxberger, zeroing in on what would have been his 35th save, instead sustained his sixth blown save as Alex Rodriguez doubled to right-center to tie the score. Suddenly the Yankees had life on what was previously a dead night. After Brian McCann was walked intentionally, Slade Heathcott wasted no time by swinging at the first pitch and driving a three-run home run to left field.

Slade Heathcott! Right, the same young outfielder who had not batted in a big-league game since May and who spent most of this season on the disabled list because of a quad injury and who was still on a Triple A roster before joining the Yankees Saturday as a, that’s right, September callup.

Rosters may expand from the usual 25 to up to 40 come Sept. 1. Managers such as Girardi have railed against this practice in recent years, but it was sure nice for the Yankees to have had Heathcott part of Monday night’s unlikely 4-1 victory.

This was a scoreless game for seven innings, a pitcher’s duel between starters CC Sabathia of the Yankees and Erasmo Ramirez of the Rays. Sabathia had arguably his best game of the season as he did not allow a run for the first time in his 26 starts over 6 2/3 innings.

Unfortunately, the Yankees didn’t get him any runs, either, nor hits until Carlos Beltran foiled Ramirez’s no-hit bid with a scorching single off the shoulder of first baseman Richie Shaffer leading off the eighth.

Pinch runner Rico Noel swiped second, but the Yankees failed to advance him further. Tampa Bay broke the scoreless tie and ended a 21-inning scoreless streak in the bottom of the eighth against Justin Wilson on a two-out, RBI double by Logan Forsythe, who reached third on Brendan Ryan’s second error of the game.

Caleb Cotham got a big third out with a strikeout of Asrubal Cabrera and was rewarded with his first major-league victory when the Yankees rallied in the ninth. Andrew Miller added an exclamation point to the victory by striking out the side in the ninth for his 33rd save.

Bird filling key role in Teixeira’s absence

It was only a little more than a week ago that Yankees manager Joe Girardi contemplating using Alex Rodriguez, a season-long designated hitter, as a first baseman as part of the plan to deal with the loss to injury of Mark Teixeira. Girardi was concerned that the Yankees might be vulnerable against left-handed pitching with the switch-hitting Teixeira out of the lineup.

Fortunately for the Yankees, the play of rookie Greg Bird as Tex’s caddy has turned this situation into a non-issue. Bird got the most important hit of Monday’s 8-6 victory over the Orioles, a three-run home run in the seventh inning that unlocked a 5-5 score. It came off a left-handed pitcher, too, as Brian Matusz got too much of the plate with a slider on a count of 0-2.

As Matusz was jogging in from the bullpen, Bird ducked into the runway and watched some quick video of the lefthander, which he later said may not have helped all that much. “For me, it’s more important what I see from the batter’s box,” Bird said.

Bird anticipated fastball from Matusz and adjusted when he saw the spin indicating breaking ball. It was a big-league approach from a young hitter who has gotten more and more comfortable in the big leagues, so much so that you don’t hear too many people around the Yankees mentioning Teixeira’s injury any more.

That is the way of baseball. A player goes on the disabled list, and someone else must step up. Bird has done that for the most part. He is batting .263 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 76 at-bats. And get this: against left-handed pitching, the lefty-swinging Bird is 6-for-17 (.353) with a double, two home runs and six RBI. Who needs A-Rod to leave his DH perch with this kind of production?

Rodriguez also contributed a home run (No. 29, career No. 683), a solo shot in the fifth off Wei-Yin Chen as the Yankees clawed away at a 4-1 Baltimore lead. A two-run homer by John Ryan Murphy later in the inning put the Yanks ahead, 5-4. Justin Wilson gave up a game-tying homer to Manny Machado in the top of the seventh before Bird settled matters in the bottom half.

His blow was the 38th homer of at least three runs (31 three-run homers and seven grand slams), the most by a major-league team in one season since 2009 when the Phillies had 39. The Yankees had have multiple homers in six of their past 10 games.

The long balls were vital for the Yankees to bail out Michael Pineda, who gave up four runs (three on a home run by Jonathan Schoop) in the second inning and then allowed only one walk and one hit over the next four innings. Girardi credited Murphy, the catcher, with helping the struggling pitcher through the outing.

Labor Day marked the third holiday this season on which Pineda started. The others were Mother’s Day and Fourth of July. In those starts, the righthander was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 20 innings.

After Bird’s homer, Girardi went with his twin bullpen aces to finish off the game, but it was a bit dicey. Dellin Betances had a weird eighth in which he walked three batters and struck out three. The next inning, Andrew Miller was touched for a run but prevailed to record his 32nd save.

The victory coupled with Toronto’s loss at Boston moved the Yankees within a half-game of the Blue Jays in the American League East.

The Yankees are 12-7 in the games following Aug. 17 when Teixeira fouled a ball off his right shinbone. He started one of those games and pinch-hit in another, and the Yanks lost both. So without Tex taking part in games over this stretch, the Yankees are 12-5. Sure, they may have had a better record if he did not get hurt, but clearly they are succeeding despite his loss.

McCann & Yanks continue to burn Atlanta

The Brian McCann lovefest in Atlanta continued Saturday night as the Yankees won again, although this time without the fireworks their offense showed Friday night in a 15-4 bashing of the Braves.

The winning score for the Yankees was a much more modest 3-1, but once again McCann and Didi Gregorius supplied some firepower to match the superlative pitching of Luis Severino (2-2), Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller (28th save).

McCann, returning to his hometown and Turner Field where he was an All-Star catcher for the Braves before signing as a free agent with the Yankees last year, got his fifth RBI of the series with a double to right-center in the eighth inning that scored Chris Young, pinch running for Carlos Beltran, who had led off with a walk.

You would have thought McCann was still playing for the Braves the way so many fans in the sellout crowd of 49,243 reacted to his hit. Yankees fans seemed to be in every part of the stands.

That proved an important insurance run for Betances, who worked out of jams in the seventh and eighth innings as the Braves threatened to even the score. Atlanta got on the board in the seventh when Justin Wilson an ill-advised throw to first base by Gregorius for an error on a fielder’s choice.

Betances entered with two out and a runner on first base and got off to a shaky start by walking Cameron Maybin on four pitches. That brought up the dangerous Freddie Freeman, who hit a hard grounder up the middle that Betances gloved with a behind-the-back swipe and threw to first to end the inning.

After McCann’s hit made the score 3-1 in the eighth, the Braves put two runners on with singles in the bottom half, but Betances struck out Andrelton Simmons looking at a fastball on the inside corner, to which the shortstop objected demonstratively but was not ejected.

Miller made quick work of the Braves in the ninth by retiring the side in order with two strikeouts.

In a pairing of rookies, Severino got the better of Atlanta’s Matt Wisler, who gave up a run in the first inning on a wild pitch but held the Yankees down until the seventh when back-to-back doubles by Chase Headley and Gregorius gave the Yankees their second run. Gregorius’ two-bagger was their only hit in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position and his ninth RBI in the past three games.

Severino, who seems to get better with every start, pitched six innings and allowed only four hits with five strikeouts. He had some control issues with three walks but held the Braves hitless in three at-bats with runners in scoring position as they stranded six runners in his time on the mound.

The righthander has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his five starts and lowered his season ERA to 2.17. He has become a fixture in the rotation and has displayed composure unexpected of a 21-year-old.

Not all of the news in Atlanta has been positive, however. Mark Teixeira still experiences pain attempting to run and remains on the bench for an indefinite period. He is doubtful for Sunday’s series finale at the Ted and hopeful to return in Boston, the next stop on the trip.

HOPE Week: Chris Singleton’s message

The Yankees began their seventh annual HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) Monday with the story of Chris Singleton, a baseball player at Charleston Southern University, Chris was a normal student and college athlete when tragedy changed his life.

His mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45 – a minister at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., and speech pathologist and girls track coach at Goose Creek High School – was among nine parishioners who lost their lives in a premeditated hate crime at the church this past June.

Following a memorial at his former high school the day after the shooting, Chris said about the perpetrator, “We already forgive him for what he has done. There’s nothing but love from our side of the family.”

Chris Singleton and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

Chris Singleton and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

Chris’ positivity has galvanized a community. Despite losing the only parent who took an active role in his life, he continues to radiate wisdom beyond his 19 years. More than a month after the tragedy, he posted on Twitter July 22, “The good outweighs the bad even on your worst days.”

Chris, along with his sister Camryn, 15, brother Caleb, 12, and his college baseball coach and mentor, Stuart Lake, of Charleston Southern University, were surprised Monday morning on the set of NBC’s The Today Show at Rockefeller Center by Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances, outfielder Brett Gardner and designated hitter Alex Rodriguez.

Singleton was later joined at One World Observatory for a private tour and lunch with pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and Justin Wilson, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Chris Young, infielder Stephen Drew and former second baseman and coach Willie Randolph before going to Yankee Stadium where he took part in batting practice with the team and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Ellsbury gives Yanks boost before Blue Jays series

Welcome back, Jacoby Ellsbury. Oh, sure, he has been back with the Yankees for a month now, but to be honest the center fielder has been quiet at the plate for much of that time.

Until Thursday night, that is. Ellsbury got all of a 2-1 pitch from Red Sox lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez for a home run into the second deck in right field in the seventh inning that unlocked a 1-1 score and sent the Yankees toward a 2-1 victory.

The timing could not have been better. With the Blue Jays running their winning streak to five games on the eve of coming to Yankee Stadium for a three-game series, the Yankees maintained their 4 1/2-game lead over Toronto in the American League East. Friday night’s matchup pits former National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey for the Blue Jays against the Yanks’ Nathan Eovaldi, who has the best winning percentage (.846) in the major leagues with an 11-2 record.

CC Sabathia did not have to worry about dehydration with a more pleasant evening humidity-wise and gave the Yankees six strong innings (one run, three hits, three walks, eight strikeouts), and the bullpen trio of Justin Wilson (4-0), Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller (24-for-24 in saves) worked a scoreless inning apiece to put this one away.

Ellsbury had combined with Brett Gardner to form a productive 1-2 punch at the top of the order over the first two months of the season but missed 43 games because of a sprained right knee. Since coming back, Ellsbury batted .196 with three doubles, one triple, three home runs and 16 RBI in 97 at-bats as his season batting average shrunk from .324 to .275. He was in a 3-for-25 (.120) slump before getting hits in his last two at-bats of the game.

While his defense in center field has been superb since early July, Ellsbury seemed to be feeling his way back offensively. His fifth home run of the season was certainly hit with authority, and it was good to see Gardner and him teaming up once more. They each scored one of the Yankees’ runs Thursday night.

Leads come and go for Sabathia & Yankees

The Yankees simply could not hang on to a lead Thursday night. These see-saw battles often end with the team up last winning, which was the case as the Rangers turned them away, 7-6, with a run in the bottom of the ninth inning. After winning six consecutive series, the Yankees had to settle for a split of the four-game set in Arlington, Texas.

CC Sabathia, pushed into starting with Michael Pineda (strained right forearm flexor muscle) going on the 15-day disabled list, set the tone by failing to cling to leads of 3-0 and 5-4. The lefthander has squandered a dozen leads this season, most in the majors.

The Yankees staked Sabathia to a three-run advantage before he took the mound as they jumped on Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a triple down the left field line. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Brett Gardner. One out later, Mark Teixeira connected for the first of two home runs in the game. After a single by Brian McCann and a walk to Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley knocked in the third run of the inning with a two-out single.

It did not take long for Sabathia to lose that lead. He gave up leadoff singles to Delino DeShields and Elvis Andrus and allowed the Rangers to tie the score on one swing, by Josh Hamilton off a hanging breaking ball.

Sabathia entered the game having held left-handed batters to a .189 batting average for the season and no home runs in his past 15 starts. Leading off the second inning, another left-handed hitter, Shin-Soo Choo, took Sabathia deep for a 4-3 Texas lead.

The Yankees gave Sabathia another chance in the third when his catcher, Brian McCann, smacked a two-run home run. Texas tied the score an inning later on an inside-the-park home run by Ryan Rua on a drive to center that Ellsbury played poorly. He dived for the sinking liner and had it get past him all the way to the wall as Rua circled the bases.

Sabathia came out of the game after giving up a leadoff single to Rua in the sixth, but Justin Wilson struck out Choo and induced a double-play grounder from Robinson Chirinos. Sabathia had to be hospitalized after the game because of symptoms of dehydration. The temperature in Arlington was 100 degrees for the first pitch.

Teixeira’s second homer, a solo shot in the seventh, put the Yanks in front again. It was career homer No. 389 for Tex, who tied Hall of Famer Johnny Bench on the all-time list.

A leadoff walk to Chirinos and a wild pitch by Wilson in the bottom of the seventh proved costly. Chirinos had to stop at third on a hard-hit single to left by Andrus off Dellin Betances but scored on a fielder’s choice by Prince Fielder.

The Rangers loaded the bags after that but failed to score. The Yankees also filled the bases with two out in the eighth but did not plate a run as Gardner struck out. Hamilton’s fourth RBI on a two-out single off Andrew Miller (0-2) in the bottom of the ninth did in the Yankees.

Miller, on the mound for the first time since last Saturday, did not appear sharp and was hit hard. Ellsbury made a fence-crashing catch to take down a drive by Andrus. Miller caught a break when a sizzling liner by Leonys Martin hit DeShields running from first to second, but nobody got in the way of Hamilton’s line single that was the game winner.

The Yankees maintained their six-game lead in the American League East with the Blue Jays jumping into second place over the Orioles, whose five-game winning streak ended. Fortified by trades that sent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and pitcher David Price to Toronto, the Jays pose a threat to the Yankees, who have 13 games remaining against the Canadian club this season.

Yankees deflate sloppy Red Sox

Just when they thought they might work themselves out of last place in the American League East and give the Yankees a run for their money, the Red Sox shriveled up and died Friday night and had the steam of the weekend series at Fenway Park blow away.

Boston entered the series on a four-game winning streak and with victories in eight of its past 10 games to cut in half the 10-game deficit they faced in the division a fortnight ago. Not only that, on the mound they had their hottest pitcher, Clay Buchholz, who had pitched to a 0.67 ERA in winning each of his previous four starts.

But Buchholz walked off the mound in the fourth inning with an ailing elbow that had turned his pitches into flat, batting-practice stuff. Alex Rodriguez pounded such a pitch over the Green Monster in the first inning in striking the first blow for the Yankees. With Buchholz gone, the Red Sox infield then shot themselves in the feet with two costly errors that helped the Yankees to three gift runs.

Michael Pineda, meanwhile, was keeping Red Sox hitters at bay with another glowing start that raised his season record to 9-5. His only mistake in 6 2/3 innings was a hanging slider to Mookie Betts, who crushed it for his 10th home run with one out in the fifth.

Boston lefthander Reggie Ross retired nine straight batters into the seventh inning to keep the Red Sox close at 4-1, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi was taking no chances. Sensing the importance of winning the series opener to deflate Boston’s newfound confidence, Girardi went to his bullpen in the seventh with a runner on second and two out. Justin Wilson struck out Betts to end the threat.

After the Yankees tacked on an eighth-inning run on a two-out, RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury, Girardi went to his hammer and used Dellin Betances in the bottom of the eighth (two strikeouts, one flyout) and closer Andrew Miller in the ninth. An error by third baseman Cole Figueroa put a runner on base, but Miller finished off a big victory by striking out pinch hitter Shane Victorino.

The Yankees maintained their three-game lead in the AL East over the Orioles and pushed the last-place Red Sox 6 ½ games back. The Yanks have won five straight games at Fenway and are 8-1 in their past nine games there dating to Aug. 2 last year. Since the start of 2014, Yankees pitchers have held Red Sox batters to a .244 batting average in 431 at-bats at Fenway and have allowed double-digit hits just twice in 13 games while Yankees batters are hitting .282 in 478 at-bats and averaging 5.9 per game. Over that span, Yankees relief pitchers have a 2.33 ERA in 46 1/3 innings and have allowed one earned run or less in 11 of the 13 games.

After the game, the Yankees also announced plans to recall second baseman Rob Refsnyder from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Refsnyder was batting .290 with a .387 on-base percentage in 81 games for the RailRiders. He had 17 doubles, seven home runs, 37 RBI and was 10-for-11 in stolen bases but also committed 13 errors as the converted outfielder is still somewhat unsteady at his new position.

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