The Angels got going against Pettite, blasting through for six runs in the third on two three-run, two-run homers and adding on consistently thereafter in a 12-6 blowout. Some gaffes didn’t help the Yanks, both in the field and an extremely poor call at the plate against Pudge, calling him out when he was clearly safe. However, Pettite wasn’t good especially in the third, and Britton ate up innings for the team while taking a beating against a clearly hot team. Garland shut down the Yanks early, allowing the big early lead to hold up. I blogged before the game about the importance of scoring runs early. The Angels got that and how, staking themselves to a lead that was never seriously threatened.
Pettite was in trouble in the first and second, but avoided consecutive two-out walks in the first, and consecutive lead-off singles in the second, to keep the game scoreless as Garland retired the Yanks with ease. Pettite helped his own cause by picking off Anderson in the second inning for the first out. That ended in the third when, after two singles and two outs, Torii Hunter blasted a no-doubt bomb to right center, 3-0. After Anderson and Kendrick singled, ex-Yankee Rivera homered to deep left, 6-0. Ouch.
The Yanks sluggishly attempted to stay in the game, with Abreu homering to right in the fourth. Yet after A-Rod doubled, Giambi and Cano flew out to nip the threat in the proverbial bud. Melky tripled with two outs in the fifth and JD singled him in to close it to 6-2, but the Angels blew it wide and indisputably open in the sixth. Mathis doubled to right-center, Figgins singled him in 7-2 then stole second, Aybar walked, Teixeira popped out, and Vlad blasted a homer to deep left, 10-2. The Yankees briefly threatened to close the gap in the seventh when Nady continued to rise as a Yank, blasting a long homer to left center, 10-3. Pudge and Melky singled with Pudge going to third. JD then grounded to Oliver who whirled and threw to second and, as Pudge broke for home on the throw, Aybar threw home as Pudge slid in safe. But though Pudge’s left hand clearly slid across home as Mathis fielded the ball and before Mathis applied the tag, home plate ump Ed Hickox called Pudge out on one of the worst calls I’ve seen in a looooong time; HORRIBLE!
The Angels added on in the eighth to remove what shred of doubt remained about the game’s outcome. Figgins singled and Aybar tripled to right center, 11-3. Melky was positioned way over in left center, a good fifteen feet on the left field side of second base, and the ball stayed aloft long enough that Abreu really should have noticed where Melky was playing and caught, or at least hustled better to, the ball. Even in a blowout, there’s no way that ball should have landed. Teixeira’s single scored Aybar, 12-3. The Yanks scored three in the ninth, two on force plays, but the Angels won this with ease.
Pettite was bad tonight, mostly in the third but really in lots of trouble throughout, surrendering 11 hits, nine runs earned, walking three, fanning four on 110/62 strikes in 5 1/3. Britton took one for the team tonight, pitching 3 2/3 IP in yeoman’s work to spare the pen. Melky was 3-4 with 2 runs. Nady was 2-3 with his second homer as a Yankee. He’s helping the bottom of the order and has been fairly good in left. Abreu was 1-5 but pasted his 14th homer and continues to lead the team with 73 RBIs. A-Rod had a double, lots of singles were scattered about, but the offense was held in check while the Angels ran wild. Cano was 0-4, and is now 3 for his last 22.
Not a good start to the series. The Superfluous Acronyms stayed hot, belting 18 hits and working 3 walks, putting runners on base every inning except the fifth. One post-break hot team has been stymied by an even hotter one, which is also a better one this year. I’m interested to see what this portends for the Yanks now–if this means the Yanks aren’t quite up to snuff to compete with the Angels, or if they’ve just run into hot pitching and hitting. My gut tells me the former while I’m holding out hope for besting the latter. Either way, the Yanks can’t afford such swoons where they’re blasted and not competitive. Ponson (6-2, 4.59 ERA) faces Ervin Santana (11-5, 3.57 ERA) tomorrow, and already the knot is building in my stomach.