For the second day in a row, it looked like the Yankees were going to get the Rally Monkey off their backs. Instead the Angels staged another big comeback and continued their recent dominance against the Bombers, setting then two games back in the AL East.
It didn't take for the Yanks get things going. In the first, with two outs and Johnny Damon standing on first, Alex Rodriguez blasted a homer to left to make it 2-0. In the following inning Eric Hinske added his second roundtripper as a Yankee, a solo shot to center. A-Rod walked to lead of the fourth, advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt by Jered Weaver and scored on a Robinson Cano double, who has seemingly awoken from his RISP drought.
Andy Pettitte worked through his first three innings allowing two walks but no hits, but needed 46 pitches to do so. He no hit bid was broken up by an Eric Aybar double in the fourth. Bobby Abreu singled in Aybar, which in combination with some hard hit foul balls looked ominous for Pettitte. He settled down though, strikingout Mike Napoli, and then sitting down Kendry Morales and Gary Matthews in order to end the threat.
As was the case last night, the Angels did major damage in the fifth inning, again via the home run. Howie Kendrick singled to begin the frame and top prospect Brandon Wood took one out the opposite way to make it 4-3. Pettitte allowed a single but very nearly got Chone Figgins to ground into a double play, but the speedy Yankee killer barely beat the throw. It got much uglier. Consecutive base hits tied the game and sent Pettitte to the showers. Girardi called on David Robertson but he promptly gave up a two run double to Mike Napoli, which would ultimately cause Pettitte to take the loss.
Robertson struck out the side in the sixth inning, but Reggie Willits reached on a wild pitch and was tripled in by Eric Aybar. Brett Tomko got Bobby Abreu out to finish the inning, but allowed a run of his own in the 7th. The offense kept plugging away, adding two runs in the bottom half of 7th and the 8th on a two run shot by Eric Hinske and solo dingers courtesy of A-Rod and Hideki Matsui.
With the score 10-8 in favor of the Angels entering the bottom of the 8th, Phil Coke was summoned to keep the Yanks within striking distance. He did anything but that. The Angels plated four runs and put the game out of reach.
The 14-8 final score might not even be representative of how brutal this game was. Once again, the offense put up a significant early lead and the pitching staff squandered it away. It's especially frustrating considering the Yankees proximity to the Red Sox and their inepititude against the Angels. They'll try to salvage some dignity heading into the All-Star break this afternoon at 3:35. We'll be back later with the preview.