Xavier Nady rallies Yankees past sloppy Angels
Nady homered and had a career-high six RBIs, rallying New York past the sloppy Los Angeles Angels 14-9 in a back-and-forth game Sunday.
Mark Teixeira hit a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning for his first home run with Los Angeles, but New York took advantage of clumsy defense by the Angels to score six times in the bottom half and complete its largest comeback this season.
“It was a crazy ballgame, but it was a big win,” Ivan Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez’s first homer for the Yankees started their unlikely rally from a five-run deficit against ace John Lackey. New York scored 10 unearned runs in its final two at-bats as the Angels matched a season high with four errors.
“Defense is an asset to this club and we just didn’t get it done today. It was a poor game,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We just have to turn the page on this one.”
It was an important victory for the playoff-hopeful Yankees, who play 16 of their next 19 on the road. They gained a split of the four-game series, sending the Angels to their fourth loss in 18 games.
Los Angeles, which has the best record in the majors at 69-42, completed its East Coast trip 7-3 by losing for only the third time in its past 13 away from home.
Lackey came within two outs of a no-hitter Tuesday night at Boston. This time, the right-hander was given a 5-0 lead, but he couldn’t put the Yankees away.
Rodriguez, acquired Wednesday from Detroit, hit a solo shot in the fifth. Nady’s two-run double in the sixth helped New York cut it to 5-4, and Lackey left after 102 pitches.
The Yankees caught their first big break in the seventh when center fielder Gary Matthews Jr., filling in for perennial Gold Glove winner Torii Hunter, tried for a running catch on Derek Jeter’s deep drive to left-center and dropped the ball for an error.
“I had a pretty good bead on it,” Matthews said. “It’s a play I’ve made so many times. I just didn’t come up with it. I know bright sky and all that stuff, but I didn’t make it.”
Bobby Abreu followed with an RBI single for his third hit, tying it at 5.
Three batters later, Nady, who finished with four hits, smacked a three-run shot off Jose Arredondo for his third home run since being acquired July 26 from Pittsburgh.
“I’m comfortable here. It’s good to be with a ballclub with so many great hitters,” Nady said. “I see these guys and the at-bats they have and maybe it rubs off on me. I just sit and watch.”
Teixeira, obtained Tuesday from Atlanta, connected off Edwar Ramirez (3-0) with two outs in the eighth to give the AL West leaders a 9-8 advantage with his fourth career slam.
The clever play caught the Angels off guard. Figgins, retreating to third, couldn’t handle catcher Jeff Mathis’ wide throw and the ball deflected off his glove into foul territory.
Christian scored the tying run on Mathis’ error, and Cabrera went to third.
“No lead is safe with those guys,” Teixeira said.
Later in the inning, Alex Rodriguez hit a bases-loaded grounder that could have been an inning-ending double play. But Figgins bobbled the ball as the go-ahead run scored, and Rodriguez reached safely on the third baseman’s error.
“A couple of tough hops for the guys. We have nobody to blame but ourselves,” Shields said.
New York improved to 50-1 when leading after seven innings, though this win was unconventional. The five-run deficit was the biggest the Yankees have overcome this season.
With Giese’s strong outing and Ian Kennedy pitching well in the minors, Rasner’s starting spot could be in jeopardy.
“We talk about a lot of things, but right now Raz is in the rotation,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi said closer Mariano Rivera was unavailable because of back spasms. … Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero got the day off. … The 10 unearned runs allowed by the Angels equaled a franchise record. The last time New York scored 10 unearned runs at home was 1940 against the St. Louis Browns. … Hunter traveled home to Arkansas on Saturday to attend his grandmother’s funeral. … Cano didn’t start for the second consecutive day because of a sore left hand.