Yankees 8, Angels 7, 11 innings
Giambi hit two home runs to reach 300 for his career and Tony Womack had an 11th-inning single through a five-man infield as New York rallied from a four-run deficit for the second straight day, beating the Los Angeles Angels 8-7 Sunday.
“As long as those home runs are contributing to wins, I’m happy,” Giambi said. “I can’t stop and smell the roses now, we’ve got to keep getting wins.”
Brothers Bengie and Jose Molina both homered in a major league game for the first time, connecting against Randy Johnson, but the Angels still lost their sixth in seven games, trimming their AL West lead to 1 1/2 games over Oakland.
Derek Jeter had four hits to help the Yankees, who stranded 14 runners. New York took two of three from a longtime nemesis and finished 4-2 on a homestand that included another possible playoff opponent, the Minnesota Twins.
“I think it definitely builds confidence on our team, especially doing it against one of the best bullpens in the game,” Alex Rodriguez said. “You have to really battle those guys.”
Hideki Matsui tripled off the center-field fence against Kevin Gregg (1-2) to start the 11th, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought Chone Figgins in from center field to give his team five infielders. But Womack, who entered as a pinch-runner in the 10th, grounded a one-out single through the left side, ending a 4-hour, 20-minute game.
Tom Gordon (4-4) pitched a perfect 11th for the win.
An error by Gold Glove first baseman Darin Erstad, a defensive replacement for Jose Molina, helped New York score four times in the eighth. Matsui had an RBI single, and Jeter’s two-out single off Scot Shields tied it at 6.
“They’ve played us tough for years now,” Jeter said. “They made a few mistakes today, and that’s sort of out of character. They’re a pretty solid team.”
Making his second major league start, Chris Bootcheck held the Yankees to five hits through six innings and left with a 4-1 lead before the bullpen and some shoddy defense cost him his first career win.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Bootcheck said. “I was hoping to eat up as many innings as I could and keep us in the ballgame.”
Bengie Molina hit a three-run shot in the fourth, his 10th homer this year and second of the series. Jose connected leading off the fifth.
It was the first time brothers homered for the same team in one game since Aug. 11, 2001, when Jason and Jeremy Giambi connected for Oakland against the Yankees, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“It doesn’t matter right now,” Jose Molina said. “We lose.”
Normally Bengie’s backup at catcher, Jose Molina made his first career start at first base to give Erstad a rest with Johnson on the mound. Their other brother, Yadier, is the regular catcher for the Cardinals.
Jason Giambi connected in the second inning off Bootcheck and the seventh against Esteban Yan, giving the streaking slugger three homers in four at-bats. Giambi’s two-run shot in the eighth Saturday began New York’s comeback in another 8-7 victory.
Giambi hit a major league-best 14 homers in July, the most in a month by a Yankees player since Mickey Mantle hit 14 in July 1961. Roger Maris had 13 that month, too.
“That’s the exciting part about being a Yankee,” Giambi said. “Whenever you do anything special, you’re joining Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio. That’s one of the reasons I came here.”
He took a curtain call after No. 300 cut Los Angeles’ lead to 4-2.
Cabrera hit an RBI double in the eighth, and Juan Rivera added a sacrifice fly. Johnson allowed six runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings with seven strikeouts and two walks, his ERA rising to 4.11.
“I’m glad we battled back. I hate to leave the team in a hole,” he said.
Figgins made an incredible, diving catch to rob Bernie Williams of extra bases in the second, probably saving a run. The catch was so good he got a standing ovation from the crowd of 53,653.
“As a kid, you look to make plays like that at a place like Yankee Stadium,” Figgins said. “Just one of those moments.”
During the game, the Yankees traded LHP Buddy Groom to Arizona for a player to be named or cash. Groom lashed out at manager Joe Torre after he was designated for assignment Saturday to make room for newly acquired LHP Alan Embree. … It was Giambi’s 27th multihomer game, his fourth this season. … The Angels entered with only 54 errors, best in the AL.