Angels 2, Yankees 1, 13 innings
NEW YORK (AP)—Roger Clemens pitched like a young ace on Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium. His teammates were the ones who looked worn out.
Fill-in first baseman Miguel Cairo made two errors on one play in the 13th inning, allowing the Los Angeles Angels to edge the New York Yankees 2-1 on Saturday after a spirited pitchers’ duel between Clemens and All-Star John Lackey.
“We just pitched extraordinary baseball today for 13 innings against a terrific lineup—and that’s really the story,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Cairo, used as a part-time first baseman this year because of various Yankees injuries, made three of New York’s five errors—its most in nearly five years.
“I take pride in defense and today I let my team down. I didn’t do my job,” he said.
Fittingly, Clemens was in top form on Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium. The Rocket, who will turn 45 next month, was older than five of the former players in attendance, including first-timer Paul O’Neill.
Clemens went pitch-for-pitch with Lackey, who matched his career high with 11 strikeouts. Both pitchers left after eight innings with the score tied at 1.
“You’d think that runs were going to be few today, just the way their guy was working. He was working extremely fast,” Clemens said. “It was just a good ballgame.
The bullpens took over from there—until the Yankees’ sloppy defense finally hurt them.
Molina stayed alive—throwing his bat to foul off one pitch—and hit a grounder to the right of Cairo. He made a diving stop, fumbled the ball and then rushed an errant toss behind Vizcaino.
The ball rolled all the way to New York’s dugout, allowing Kendrick to score. Cairo was charged with two errors on the play—he also botched a grounder in the 10th.
“I’ve got to make that play,” Cairo said.
The last time the Yankees made five errors was in a 16-inning loss to Oakland on Aug. 9, 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“We made a miscue or two, and there at the end it cost us,” Clemens said.
Bobby Abreu hit an early RBI double for the Yankees (41-43), who were trying to reach .500 for the first time since after a loss in San Francisco on June 23. Cabrera struck out five times, four against Lackey.
The AL West-leading Angels won for the fourth time in 11 games following a 7-1 stretch. They finished 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and haven’t homered in their last six games.
Angels reliever Scot Shields pitched three innings for the first time since Sept. 16, 2004, at Seattle. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 18 outings covering 23 innings.
Clemens looked plenty spry, sliding to the dirt after covering first on a groundout in the fourth and jumping for a comebacker to start an inning-ending double play in the fifth. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner pumped his fist after Reggie Willits was caught stealing on a pitchout to end the sixth, thanks to a terrific tag by second baseman Robinson Cano.
Clemens allowed one run in eight innings for the second time in five days— he beat Minnesota for his 350th win on Monday night. The right-hander held Los Angeles to five hits, walking one and striking out three.
“People talk about his age, but when he goes out there he’s just a competitor,” Rodriguez said. “He showed again he’s one of the best in the major leagues.”
A trainer and pitching coach Ron Guidry visited the mound to check on Clemens after he fanned Casey Kotchman to start the eighth, but the pitcher finished the inning.
While Clemens used his diving splitter to generate groundouts, Lackey was baffling the Yankees with big curveballs. He did not walk a batter and tied his strikeout high set on Sept. 28, 2006, against Oakland.
“We went toe-to-toe. He pitched good and I had it going on a little bit,” Lackey said. “It kind of feels like a playoff game every time you pitch here, and that’s fun.”
Lackey is 7-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last eight starts on the road. He gave up a leadoff double to Jorge Posada in the seventh, but struck out the next two batters and picked off Posada at second base. An excited Lackey then charged off the mound, clapping his bare hand into his glove.
Hideki Matsui doubled in the second and scored on a ground-rule double by Abreu. The Angels tied it in the third when Garret Anderson doubled and scored on a groundout by Jeff Mathis, his first RBI this season.
Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, nursing a strained left hamstring, said he will play in the All-Star game on Tuesday. … It was the longest game of the season for the Angels. … Mariano Rivera pitched two shutout innings for New York.