Yankees 10, Angels 1
In between, they lost four straight. But they headed home Sunday having regained their offense in a 10-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
“They stopped thinking and just went out there and reacted,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “With the ability we have, it’s just a matter of when it’s going to happen. It’s just been a strange road trip.”
New York avoided starting the season 1-5 for the first time since 1989, but still lost two of three in Oakland and two of three in Anaheim heading into Tuesday’s home opener against Kansas City.
“It was big to win this last game of this trip and go home with a little bit of momentum,” Mike Mussina said. “You’re not going to get that many runs off of Colon very often. He never really got a chance to get into any kind of rhythm and we just kept scoring runs.”
The Yankees skipped batting practice, giving them extra time in the clubhouse, where the pregame mood was “goofy,” according to Torre.
“We were playing around and making fun of people, trying to keep it loose and simple,” Posada said.
Mussina (1-0) was as dominant as Colon was awful. The right-hander retired six of the first seven batters he faced en route to allowing one run on five hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked two.
“He keeps getting finer and finer with his stuff,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Although he’s not throwing as hard as he once did, he’s still adept at hitting spots, changing speeds and keeping hitters off-balance. He just knows how to pitch, knows what he wants to do, and he’s very good at it.”
An offense that had stagnated since New York’s 15-2 victory over the Athletics last Monday broke out against Colon (0-1).
“I’m the one that woke them up a little bit by making the pitches that I made,” Colon said. “But I look forward to seeing them again, definitely. They’re a good team and I like to compete against them.”
The right-hander retired the side in the first before being hit hard in the second and third. Colon gave up eight runs—seven earned—on seven hits in two-plus innings, struck out one and walked two.
“I have only two starts down, which have been really bad, but I look forward to the next 30-plus starts that I know are going to be better,” he said.
Rodriguez started the onslaught with a leadoff homer on the second pitch from Colon. Jason Giambi singled, Hideki Matsui reached on Colon’s fielding error and then Posada sent a 1-2 pitch into the right field seats, extending New York’s lead to 4-0.
“We’ve been swinging the bats progressively better the last three days,” Rodriguez said. “We have to work on being more consistent.”
Derek Jeter’s RBI double landed inches inside the right-field line, scoring the fifth run of the inning, when the Yankees batted around. Rodriguez’s grounder to short briefly ended the scoring spree.
New York jumped on Colon again to start the third. He walked Giambi and Matsui singled to set up Posada’s run-scoring double that made it 6-0 and finished off Colon.
“Right now he’s losing a little bit of his command and he’s just overthrowing a bit,” Scioscia said. “But there’s nothing we see that would lead us to have any concern with Bart.”
Posada led off the fifth with his second homer, increasing the margin to 9-1. They added a run in the sixth on Matsui’s two-out, RBI single.
Yankees closer Mariana Rivera made his season debut, giving up a single to Casey Kotchman in a scoreless ninth.
Angels RHP Kelvim Escobar, who cracked a fingernail Friday night, played catch Sunday with no pain and said he’s 50-50 to make his next start. … It was Posada’s 12th career multihomer game and his first since last Sept. 22 against Baltimore. … Rodriguez’s 431st homer tied him with Cal Ripken Jr. for 37th on baseball’s career list. It was his eighth career homer off Colon. … The Yankees were 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position after going 0-for-8 during the first two games of the series. … The series attracted a club record 132,285 fans, bettering the old mark of 132,192 against the Dodgers last June. … Colon has struggled out of the gate. As the opening day starter, he gave up three runs that tied the game in a no-decision at Seattle last Monday. … The UCLA men’s basketball team attended the game, playing catch on the field and autographing baseballs tossed to them by fans. The Bruins sang an off-key version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch.