Angels 6, Yankees 5
The Angels’ Vladimir Guerrero wiped all that out with one swing Thursday night, rallying Los Angeles to a 6-5 victory with a grand slam.
“Coming from behind, being 2-for-30, that makes it really good,” Guerrero said through a translator.
The 2004 AL MVP broke out of his recent slump in dramatic fashion, driving the ball over the wall in center field to greet Tom Gordon, the Yankees’ third reliever of the seventh inning.
“Once I hit it, I thought it was going to go out,” said Guerrero, who hesitated as he watched the flight of the ball. “Then I saw Bernie Williams go back and camp out, and I thought I’d better start really running.”
The ball cleared the fence with several feet to spare.
Yankees manager Joe Torre pulled Johnson after the sixth because Johnson seemed to be favoring his back and he didn’t want to take any chances with his ace.
“Hopefully, he should be ready for his next start,” Torre said.
Johnson sounded as if he will.
“I kind of dragged my foot and I think my momentum just kind of put a lot more of my body weight on my right side and I felt my back tweak a little bit,” he said. “But I’ve done it before, so I’ll be fine. I can touch my toes now and I’ll touch my toes tomorrow.”
The Angels’ Bartolo Colon (12-6) had given up four homers and five runs, so he was especially happy to see Guerrero bring Los Angeles back from a 5-2 deficit.
“I actually jumped up in the dugout when he hit it,” Colon said through a translator. “I said, `Thank you, Vlade. Now I’ll give it to the bullpen.”’
Gordon (3-4) said he threw his cut fastball essentially where he wanted, and Guerrero still pounded it.
“The ball was down, but he was able to get the ball in the air and drive it. There aren’t too many guys who can hit that pitch out of the ballpark,” Gordon said.
Guerrero’s 17th homer, only his fifth hit in 45 at-bats, came after Johnson held the Angels to two runs on four hits before leaving after the sixth inning of what was his 500th career start.
Giambi hit a pair of solo homers for the second time in as many nights, with two in an 8-4 win at Texas on Wednesday.
He has hit 15 home runs this season, 10 this month.
Rodriguez hit his AL-leading 27th homer, and Matsui hit his 16th.
Colon allowed the five runs on eight hits in seven innings and struck out three.
Scot Shields pitched the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez came on for the ninth and gave up a leadoff double to Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod advanced to third on Matsui’s flyball, but Rodriguez got his 22nd save in 24 chances by striking out Giambi and—after walking Bernie Williams—getting pinch-hitter Jorge Posada to ground out to second.
Gordon was charged with run on two hits in two-thirds of an inning.
The Yankees went up 5-2 on homers by Matsui and Giambi in the seventh after Giambi homered in the fourth.
Los Angeles had closed to 3-2 on Garret Anderson’s RBI single in the sixth inning.
The Angels got their first hit—and first run—off Johnson in the fourth inning. Johnson hit Darin Erstad with a pitch leading off the inning. One out later, Anderson singled to move Erstad to third, then Bengie Molina followed with a sacrifice fly.
John Flaherty has caught eight of Johnson’s last nine starts. The Big Unit is 5-0 with a 2.95 ERA in those eight games. Posada caught the other game during that stretch, and Johnson gave up seven runs over three innings. …The sellout crowd of 44,109 put the Angels at 2,042,849 this season, making them the second team this season—behind the Yankees—to top the two million mark in home attendance. … Cano’s RBI single in the opening inning extended his hitting streak to 10 games. … It was only the second time in 20 starts this season that Colon has allowed more than two homers. The Yankees hit three against him on April 26 in a 12-4 victory at New York.