NEW YORK (AP)—Alfonso Soriano set the tone right from the start, and the rest of the Yankees followed.
The slumping Soriano hit a leadoff home run and the rout was on, with New York beating Anaheim 10-4 Thursday night in the highest-scoring game against the World Series champion Angels this season.
“That’s a typical Yankees team, everybody hits it hard,” Soriano said.
And that made it a long night for Arturo Moreno. Earlier in the day, his $184 million purchase of the Anaheim Angels was approved by baseball owners, and he then hustled up to Yankee Stadium to meet manager Mike Scioscia for the first time.
Moreno had just settled into his box seat next to the Anaheim dugout when Soriano connected.
“We’re in the business of trying to play hard and win every day. He knows that,” Scioscia said.
The Yankees also were eager to win, having tied a season high with three straight losses.
“You get a little more amped up,” winning pitcher Jeff Weaver said. “I think we all knew we had to come up with a rush.”
Soriano provided it, connecting on Aaron Sele’s second pitch. The Yankees star came into the game in a 1-for-20 rut.
The day before, Soriano’s father died of a brain hemorrhage. Soriano said he was not real close with his father, and decided to play.
“I felt better today. I tried to put those things away and focus on the game,” he said. “When I hit a homer, I wake up the team and I wake up myself, too.”
Todd Zeile, a last-minute replacement, hit a home run, delivered a bizarre single and made a tumbling catch.
Zeile played in place of Nick Johnson, a late scratch because of a sore right hand. Zeile had two hits, scored two runs and drove in two. With Johnson’s status uncertain, the Yankees might need to count on Zeile.
“I’ll just come to the park tomorrow and be ready to play,” he said.
The Yankees’ mini-skid matched their longest of the year, and they had lost four in a row at home and seven of 10 overall. But the early run support made it easy for Weaver (3-2), and prevented Anaheim from completing its first three-game sweep against New York since doing it on the road in 1999.
Sele (1-1) once again ran into trouble versus the Yankees. He’s 0-5 against them in the postseason, and last Aug. 20 had a poor outing at Yankee Stadium that landed him on the disabled list the next day with a partially torn right rotator cuff.
Sele made his first start of the season for the Angels last week, holding Texas to two hits and one run in 5 2-3 innings. Facing the Yankees, Sele never had a chance.
“We’ll look at going back to basics, Pitching 101 stuff,” he said.
After Soriano homered, Jeter followed with a double, and Williams and Jorge Posada added RBI singles.
In the second, Mondesi drew a leadoff walk and was running when the Angels pitched out. But Zeile alertly reached across the plate and slapped a hit-and-run single to right, setting up Soriano’s sacrifice fly and another RBI single by Williams.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen that before,” Sele said. “That’s how bad my fastball command was.”
Said Zeile: “I was just telling myself to wait as long as I could.”
Zeile also made the play of the game, falling into a camera bay to catch Brad Fullmer’s pop in the sixth. The grab drew big smiles from Posada and Weaver, and came in Zeile’s first start at first base this year.
Weaver allowed two earned runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. Jeff DaVanon homered leading off the seventh, the first home run permitted by Weaver in 52innings this season.
Roger Clemens will try for his 299th career victory Friday night against Texas. Rain is in the forecast, however. … Johnson will see a doctor Friday. His status is uncertain. … Zeile’s homer was his 237th, tying Gus Zernial for the most ever by a player whose last name begins with “Z.” … Anaheim’s Scott Spiezio walked three times and was hit by a pitch. He’s reached base in nine straight plate appearances. He came into the series in an 0-for-24 slump. … Soriano has four leadoff homers this year and 12 in his career. … Yankees reliever Steve Karsay, out all season because of an injured right shoulder, had a “setback” during his rehabilitation, general manager Brian Cashman said. The Yankees had hoped to have him back by mid-June, but now there’s no telling whether he’ll pitch this season. “Until we get him here,that’s always a possibility,” Cashman said.
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