Yankees 11, Angels 8
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Bernie Williams stood in the visiting clubhouse at Angel Stadium last October after his Yankees lost in the AL division series, unsure whether he’d play another game for New York.
The Angels are sorry he played in this one.
Williams homered twice and drove in six runs, and Derek Jeter also hit two home runs Sunday as the Yankees ended their longest road trip of the season with an 11-8 victory over Los Angeles.
“At this stage of my career, I just wanted to come out here and have fun,” said Williams, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract in December to play a 16th season with the Yankees.
“This year has taught me a lot. So obviously, I’ve got to be ready for anything. It was a great day because I’ve been playing a limited amount of time over the last couple of years. So in my mind, I was due for a day like this,” he said.
Jeff Karstens earned his first major league win, helping the AL East leaders salvage the series finale. The Yankees went 7-4 on their three-city swing, which started with an emotionally-draining five-game sweep at Boston.
Williams had four hits in his first multihomer game since Aug. 26, 2005, against Kansas City. He also doubled home two runs in the seventh and singled in the fourth.
“Bernie accepted the fact that if he was back, he was going to take on a role like this, and it took him a little time to come to terms with that,” manager Joe Torre said. “But Bernie had expressed interest to be back, and I knew financially, it wouldn’t be a burden for the Yankees.”
Adam Kennedy had three hits for the Angels, who trailed 8-0 by the third inning.
“I’m a little angry with the Angels. At least they can let us have one once in a while without making us work so hard,” Torre said. “They don’t quit. They keep coming at you. The score doesn’t matter to them.”
Karstens (1-0) won in his second major league start, allowing three runs and six hits over six innings. The 23-year-old righty was born less than three years before Williams signed with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent on Sept. 13, 1985.
“I’m just trying to soak it all in right now,” Karstens said. “I wasn’t too nervous. I was kind of relaxed and was just trying to be myself and not try to do too much—because that’s when I usually get in trouble.”
Joe Saunders (4-2) lasted just 2 1-3 innings in his ninth big league start, allowing seven runs on eight hits and three walks.
“My arm felt good. I just didn’t execute my pitches when I needed to,” Saunders said. “I got behind a lot of guys, and at times when I needed to make a good pitch, I didn’t.”
Alex Rodriguez, 1-for-15 with 10 strikeouts in the three-game series, singled during the Yankees’ five-run third inning.
“I’m happy we won the game today. I’m happy Bernie Williams had a great game, I’m happy Jeter had a great game. This is about winning,” Rodriguez said. “Sure, I’m disappointed about going 1-for-15 or whatever the line may be, but you’ve got to move on and keep grinding. It’s important for me to play well down the stretch for this team and in October. And I still have that chance.”
Melky Cabrera was supposed to bat second in the Yankees’ starting lineup, but was scratched because of tooth problems. So everyone moved up one notch behind Johnny Damon, who opened the game with a double. Jeter followed with a home run.
Williams made it 3-0 in the second with a towering drive into the rock formation in left-center. Cano hit a two-run, bases-loaded single and Williams made it 8-0 with his 11th homer. It was the 18th career multihomer game for the five-time All-Star center fielder.
“Bernie’s more an artist than he is a baseball player,” Torre said.
Yankees 1B Jason Giambi did not start, but grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. He left Saturday’s game because of cramping in his hands and legs. “It’s happened before,” he said. “I mean, I’m taped from head to toe, so I’m sure that didn’t help.” … Angels rookie C Mike Napoli threw out Bobby Abreu trying to steal second base in the first inning. That ended Abreu’s streak of 18 straight successful attempts since he was last caught on June 5 with Philadelphia. … Williams started in left field for the fifth time this season.