As the West Coast correspondent for Bronx Banter, it’s my duty to write the recaps for the games that end long after East Coast fans have snuggled under the sheets. I like to imagine that legions of New York fans wake up the next morning and log onto the site before cracking a single egg or frying any bacon. They breathlessly read my thrilling account of the game, then curse themselves for falling asleep in the third inning.
Sadly, there’s nothing thrilling to report here. You can go back to your bacon and eggs.
The Angels are a team that the Yankees — even these Yankees — should handle, but it seems they never do. (The Angels’ announcers delighted in informing us that Halos have a winning record against the Yanks since 2000.) They couldn’t handle them on Friday night.
Andy Pettitte was on the mound for New York, and he ran into trouble immediately. The Angels strung together a few hits, the last being a booming double from Yankee killer Howie Kendrick that scored the game’s first run. Kendrick is a decent player, but if he were able to play against the Yankees every day, he’d be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
The Yankees struck back with two outs in the top of the fourth. Robinson Canó and Vernon Wells singled, and Thomas Neal walked to load the bases. Rookie David Adams bounced a ground ball up the middle to score two runs and snap the Yankees’ 20-inning scoreless streak.
Five minutes later, Pettitte was in trouble again. He gave up singles to the first two batters of the inning, then yielded the tying run on a sacrifice fly from Chris Ianetta. The game was tied.
Ianetta struck again in the sixth, this time delivering the go-ahead run on a two-out single to center. The Yankees still had nine outs and they were down only a run, but there was a clear sense that the game had slipped away. Somehow that single run seemed like too high a mountain for this sputtering offense to climb. Reid Brignac, Austin Romine, and Brett Gardner were due in the top of the seventh, but Angels starter C.J. Wilson made quick work of them, striking out all three.
And here’s where things got ridiculous. Peter Bourjos, rhymes with gorgeous, skied an infield pop-up that looked to be the first out of the seventh inning. Brignac and Adams drifted onto the infield dirt behind second base, looked at each other, then watched as the ball fell between them. Brignac and Adams haven’t played quite as many games together as Trammell and Whitaker, but this was a play two Little Leaguers would’ve made.
Pettitte rebounded to strike out the next two hitters, but then he gave up a single to Albert Pujols and fell behind Mark Trumbo 2-0 before losing a pitch up in the strike zone. Trumbo grounded it into left field, and it was 4-2 Angels. (The run, of course, was earned. Since neither Brignac nor Adams touched the ball, the rules say the official scorer can’t give either player an error. This is one rule that needs to be changed. While I understand that only Brignac and Adams know who should’ve made the play, someone should’ve. There’s no way a batter should be awarded a hit on a play like that, and there’s no way a pitcher should be charged with an earned run when that batter scores, as Bourjos did. What we need, obviously, is a team error. That would fix everything. But I digress.)
Down by two runs in the eighth, the Yankees looked they finally might do something. Reliever Kevin Jepsen replaced Wilson and promptly lost his handle on the strike zone. Jayson Nix led off with a single, then Teixeira battled back from a 1-2 hole to earn a walk, and the Yanks were set up with runners on first and second, nobody out, and Robinson Canó digging in. When Canó worked the count to 3-0, it wasn’t hard to imagine him turning on an inside pitch and yanking it into the seats in right.
But it didn’t happen that way. Canó flew out to short left field, Wells popped up, and Inchiro put on the finishing touches by fouling out down the right field line.
The Angels answered that failure with a run of their own, stretching the lead to an insurmountable three runs, then the Yankees went down like lambs in their half of the ninth. Angels 5, Yankees 2.
[Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images]