NEW YORK (AP)—They’re not the mighty Yankees to the Anaheim Angels.
“No matter who won last year, the Yankees are the team to beat. It’s fun to come in here,” reliever Brendan Donnelly said after getting a key strikeout as Anaheim rallied for a 5-3 victory Wednesday night.
Troy Glaus doubled home the go-ahead run off Wells in a three-run eighth inning and Scott Spiezio was 4-for-4. Garret Anderson had three hits for the Angels, who upset New York in the first round of last year’s playoffs, ending the Yankees’ run of four straight AL pennants.
“I enjoy playing here. It’s a great environment to play baseball,” Anderson said. “I love to play here, as opposed to it being an intimidating place.”
The World Series champions have won six of eight to reach the .500 mark at 19-19. Anaheim, which was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position before coming back, did the little things, a key to the franchise’s first championship last year. Anderson stole a pair of bases and Benji Gil got an important sacrifice.
Spiezio, who tied a career best for hits in a game, has six hits in eight at-bats following on 0-for-25 skid, raising his average from .180 to .218.
“I think the thing we do is come in here and play our game,” Spiezio said. “They are such a great team, you can’t focus on them. You just play your game or try to. I felt pretty good, especially the three games prior to coming in here. I hit some balls pretty hard, right at people. I have had a couple of good days here. I need a lot more of those.”
The Yankees, whose AL East lead over second-place Boston was cut to one game, are on their second three-game losing streak this year and are 3-7 following a 23-6 start and have lost three of four series after beginning 8-0-1.
“They’re tough. They grind it out,” said Derek Jeter, 2-for-4 with a pair of singles in his second game after missing six weeks with a dislocated left shoulder. “They play us tough and always have. We’ve seen it before. They don’t strike out much. They’re guys put the ball in play and keep the pressure on the defense. They pitch well. They don’t beat themselves.”
New York, which wasted a 2-0 lead, has lost three of five games to Anaheim this season. Jason Giambi was booed by the Yankee Stadium fans after popping up in the sixth inning and taking a called third strike in the eighth. He went 0-for-4, dropping his average to .209.
“Right now we’re scuffling a little bit,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Francisco Rodriguez (3-1) pitched 1 2-3 innings for the win, allowing an RBI single to Hideki Matsui in the eighth. Donnelly relieved with two on and two outs and struck out Jorge Posada, who had homered for New York’s second run.
Donnelly has stranded all nine inherited runners this year and retired 15 of 18 first batters. Troy Percival followed and finished to remain perfect in five save chances.
“We have to do it on a consistent basis, whether we play the Yankees or any other team in the league,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
A night after the Angels dropped Mussina to 7-1, Wells (5-1) lost for the first time in 12 starts since last Sept. 1 against Toronto, allowing all five runs and 11 hits in 7 2-3 innings.
Anaheim got its first run in the sixth on Shawn Wooten’s RBI single. Raul Mondesi made a nice running catch on Bengie Molina’s bloop down the line in short right to end the inning and prevent the tying run from scoring.
Spiezio doubled leading off the seventh and scored on David Eckstein’s sacrifice fly to Matsui in left—sliding home just ahead of Jeter’s relay throw.
Anderson then singled with one out in the eighth and scored on Glaus’ double to deep right-center for a 3-2 lead. Molina’s RBI single chased Wells, and Spiezio doubled home a run off Antonio Osuna, who came off the disabled list before the game.
New York built its lead against Kevin Appier. Jeter singled in the first and scored on Bernie Williams’ two-out single to center that bounced just in front of an onrushing Eric Owens. Posada hit his 10th homer of the season with two outs in the fourth.
“We played a lot better these last two games,” Appier said. “Hopefully,it’s the start of something.”
New York 2B Alfonso Soriano’s father, Carlos Gilliard, died Wednesday of a brain hemorrhage in the Dominican Republic at age 78. Soriano doesn’t plan to take any time off. … Matsui made a jumping catch on Glaus two steps from the wall in the second inning. … Yankees 3B Robin Ventura picked up Eckstein’s slow roller in the third with his bare hand, then threw off-balance to first for the out. Owens followed with a grounder down the third-base line that Ventura scooped up with his glove, then threw to first to end the inning…. Owens was 0-for-17 before his first-inning single.