Kelvim Escobar put together his best two starts of the season before a bothersome blister got in the way.
Escobar, who has been inconsistent throughout his first year with the Angels, finally appeared to find his groove with consecutive victories from Aug. 6-11. He allowed just one run and 13 hits over 14 innings, striking out 16 and walking three to display the form Anaheim was hoping for when it signed him as a free agent this past offseason.
However, Escobar ran into difficulty Tuesday at Tampa Bay, surrendering five runs and six hits while striking out three and walking four over 4 2-3 innings before being pulled with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.
Escobar took the loss as the Angels dropped an 8-3 decision to the Devil Rays.
“It was very sore,” Escobar said. “It got very big and it popped in the third inning and it came back right away. But I have no excuse.”
Escobar will try to follow to outstanding pitching performances. Ramon Ortiz shut the Yankees down in Friday’s series-opening 5-0 victory, and Aaron Sele combined with three relievers to hand New York a 6-1 loss Saturday.
Anaheim, which is in close proximity of first place in the AL West and the wild card, has won four straight and 12 of 16 to revitalize its postseason hopes.
The Yankees, who seemed to be in complete command of the AL East just over a week ago, have lost five of six, shaving their lead in the division to 6 1/2 games over Boston. New York has been outscored 33-8 in its last five defeats, and its lead in the East is its smallest since July 11.