Powerful Angels blast Yankees for 8th straight win
ANAHEIM, Calif.—Nick Swisher could only applaud the Angels' first impressive catch on a ball that he absolutely crushed. Their second similar catch a few innings later raised a little frustration.
The third improbable catch left Swisher pirouetting in frustration on the basepaths, wondering how it's possible to beat these surging Angels -- or even get a ball onto the outfield grass while Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos are patrolling it.
Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo homered, Dan Haren pitched into the eighth inning, and the Angels extended their longest winning streak in nearly three years to eight games with a 5-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
Trout and Bourjos both slammed into the walls to rob Swisher of extra-base hits in the second and seventh innings. Bourjos tracked down yet another long drive by Swisher in the eighth, making the catch on the run to strand two New York runners.
"What are you going to do, man?" asked Swisher, who managed a run-scoring single when he wasn't being victimized. "I swung the bat super well, and didn't have anything to show for it. They've got some track stars out there in center and left. Maybe I need to start hitting it to right. Keeping us to one run is pretty impressive."
After Ernesto Frieri struck out Robinson Cano with the bases loaded to end it, the Yankees lost their second straight after a five-game win streak. New York couldn't be terribly frustrated about its play, yet it wasn't enough to beat a team in the profound groove occupied by the Angels.
"It's pretty hard to say you're going to see an outfield that fast," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Their defense was what kept us from scoring runs tonight. ... I thought our guys did a good job to give us a chance."
Derek Jeter went 2 for 4 with a walk on the 17th anniversary of his major league debut with the Yankees, who passed the midway point of a nine-game road trip. The captain leads the AL with 70 hits, including 20 multihit games.
Andy Pettitte (2-2) yielded nine hits and five runs over seven-plus innings in another solid start for the Yankees, but his teammates couldn't counteract the Angels' plate power and defensive prowess.
Pujols hit a two-run shot for his 453rd career homer in the third inning, breaking a 34th-place tie with Carl Yastrzemski on baseball's career list. Trumbo followed up his game-ending shot Monday night by putting a solo shot deep into the fake rock pile behind center field at Angel Stadium in the sixth inning, a drive estimated at 443 feet.
Howie Kendrick also had a run-scoring single for the Angels, who hadn't won eight straight since July 2009. They haven't won nine in a row since 2005.
"When you're not swinging the bat, you're going to look dead," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We probably looked dead for a month. (Showing) life is just a by-product of starting to swing the bats."
Trout hit a run-scoring triple and made two jaw-dropping defensive plays for the Angels, who have won 11 of 15. After a rough start to a season of high expectations, Los Angeles (26-25) is above .500 for the first time since opening day.
"We're being who we are, and this is who we expected to be coming out of spring training," said Haren, who won at home for the first time this season.
Haren (3-5) gave up eight hits with seven strikeouts and no walks, coming through with a strong start after the Los Angeles bullpen had to pitch nine innings in relief of injured ace Jered Weaver during Monday's 9-8 victory. After a four-game losing streak, the three-time All-Star has won two straight starts in overwhelming fashion, with 21 strikeouts and no walks in 16 innings.
Frieri survived a hair-raising ninth inning. The Colombian right-hander recorded his 24th and 25th strikeouts in 12 hitless innings since the Angels acquired him on May 3, but Frieri also issued two walks with one out. After Trout made a diving catch in left, Frieri hit Alex Rodriguez to load the bases before fanning Cano.
NOTES: After struggling with his control earlier in the season, Haren has walked one batter in 22 2-3 innings over his last three starts. ... Pujols' homer was his first off Pettitte in 25 career at-bats. ... Ivan Nova takes the mound for the Yankees in Wednesday night's series finale. The Angels go for the sweep behind Ervin Santana.