Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I can feel your halo halo halo

A scene the Yankees have witnessed too many times in Anaheim.

Halos Have Yankees Number Again

Written for Baseball Digest Online

The last day of Summer provided no solace for the Yankees in Anaheim last night. No matter the season, the Yankees just can’t be the Los Angeles Angeles on the left coast. That trend continued last night when the Angels took an early lead against Andy Pettitte en route to a 5-2 win. On the bright side, the Yankees magic number to clinch the AL East was reduced to 8, thanks to the Kansas City Royals win over the Boston Red Sox.

On the even brighter side, Pettitte who missed his last start with shoulder fatigue, allowed 3 runs in an effective six effective innings and felt good afterwards. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Angels’ starter Joe Saunders was even better. The left-hander was 9-7 with a 5.33 ERA when he went on the DL after his August 7th start. But since then he’s gone unbeaten, posting a 5-0 record in six starts, while posting a 2.11 ERA. He came within two outs of throwing a complete game despite having to pitch with a sore patella tendon in his left leg.

The Yankees put two men aboard in the first but Chone Figgins defense helped Saunders escape trouble. With Johnny Damon on 1st, Mark Teixeira hit a bullet down the 3rd base line that was ticketed for extra bases. But Figgins made a diving stop and fired to 2nd base for a would be force out. But 2nd baseman Howie Kendrick dropped the throw allowing both runners to reach. (Somehow the official scorer ruled it a fielder’s choice rather than a hit or error). Saunders picked up his teammate with a swinging strikeout of Alex Rodriguez and then retired Nick Swisher on a lazy fly. After that the Yankees rolled over, except for solo home runs by A-Rod and Hideki Matsui in the 7th and 8th innings.

The Angels jumped right on Pettitte in the home half of the 1st, though it looked like Pettitte would escape unscathed when Jose Molina threw Figgins out attempting to steal 2nd base for the second out of the inning. But Bobby Abreu singled and scored on Vlad Guerrero’s gapper to right-center. Torii Hunter then followed with a double of his own for a 2-0 lead.

The Yankees’ home runs got them back to 2-run deficits each time, but the Yankees pen let the Angels extend their lead in each instance. Kendry Morales hit a pinch-hit solo home run, his 31st (and RBI #99) off of Brian Bruney in the 7th and Jonathan Albaladejo allowed another run in the 8th.

Game Notes

Derek Jeter had a pair of hits in the game to give him 199 on the season. His next hit will give him 7-200 hit seasons.

The Angels reduced their magic number for clinching the AL West to 6 and won their 90th game for the 7th time in 9 seasons.

Francisco Cervelli got quite a thrill before the game when Reggie Jackson introduced him to fellow Hall of Fame member Frank Robinson. Robby currently works for the commissioner’s office.

Chad Gaudin looks to get the Yankees back on the winning track tonight when he goes up against Ervin Santana.

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