Pujols, Aybar power Heaney's gem vs. Yanks
ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning Tuesday night to lead the Angels to a 2-1 win over the Yankees at Angel Stadium, clinching a series victory over New York prior to Wednesday's finale.
Mark Teixeira hit a long home run to center field off Angels rookie starter Andrew Heaney, as the Angels struck first in the second inning. But that was all the offense New York could muster against the left-hander, who allowed only one other hit in seven innings en route to his first big league win.
"I think overall we had some good at-bats. We hit a lot of balls hard, but at some people tonight," Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez said. "The kid [Heaney] had good stuff and pitched a good game."
Ivan Nova pitched a solid 5 2/3 innings for the Yankees but surrendered the homers to Pujols and Aybar and fell to 1-1 on the season.
When Huston Street finished the ninth for his 23rd save of the season and 298th of his career, the Angels (41-37) moved to a season-high four games over .500. New York fell to 41-37 and couldn't retake first place in the American League East despite losses by the Orioles and Rays.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big Al, little E deliver: With the Angels trailing, 1-0, Pujols took Nova's first pitch of the sixth inning deep over the center-field fence for his 13th home run of June, tying an Angels club record for most homers in a month. Aybar followed with a home run to center field of his own -- his first to center of 47 career homers -- giving the Angels a 2-1 lead. It was the third time the Angels hit back-to-back homers this season.
"[Aybar] surprised me with that ball to center -- I mean, little guy hit it a long way to get it out to that part of the park," manager Mike Scioscia said. "But Erick's a good offensive player. I don't know if he's contributed everything he will. … He'll keep it going." More >
Heaney gets in the win column: In his Angels debut on Wednesday, Heaney -- ranked the team's No. 1 prospect by MLB.com -- allowed one run on four hits while striking out five in six innings. He was even better in this one, holding the Yankees to one run on two hits with seven K's in seven innings.
"It was great," Heaney said of getting his first Major League win. "It was my sixth or seventh start -- eventually I just wanted to get it done. It's something to be proud of, that you're helping the team win." More >
Nova battles into the sixth: Making his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery, Nova permitted eight hits but was able to keep the Angels off the scoreboard until the sixth. It was a decent followup to the 6 2/3 scoreless frames he threw against the Phillies on Wednesday in New York. Nova's swing-and-miss stuff improved this time out, registering seven strikeouts after only notching one in his debut.
"Physically, I feel good," Nova said. "Even though I gave up two runs, for me it doesn't feel like a good outing because I want to win the game for the team. Like I said, it's good that I'm feeling good." More >
Beltran exits early: Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran was removed after aggravating a left rib cage injury during his fifth-inning at-bat. Beltran winced after lining a foul ball down the left-field line, then grounded out. After the half-inning, Beltran was replaced by Garrett Jones in right field. He said he hopes to avoid a stint on the disabled list.
"Yesterday during the game I was sore, and today I felt basically the same," Beltran said. "But on that swing where I hit the foul ball, I felt a little pinch. Out of precaution, Joe [Girardi, manager] decided to take me out of the game. Hopefully I ice it with treatment and tomorrow I wake up feeling better." More >
Street and Angels setup man Joe Smith both pitched for a fourth straight day on Tuesday, so there's a good chance neither will be available for Wednesday's series finale. Scioscia didn't commit one way or the other after the game, but Street said he thinks he and Smith will both be down.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
After Mike Trout went a month between stolen-base attempts, from May 28-June 28, he attempted his second steal in as many days in the third inning Tuesday. But after successfully stealing on Monday, he was called out in his attempt Tuesday. Angels manager Mike Scioscia challenged the call, but it was allowed to stand after review.
A crew-chief review also went against the Angels, leading off the seventh inning, when Yankees first baseman Teixeira made a nice scoop on a low throw by third baseman Chase Headley to retire Johnny Giavotella. That out call was also allowed to stand.
Yankees: Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (7-2, 4.81 ERA) draws the starting assignment on normal rest as the Yankees wrap up the road trip in a 4:05 p.m. PT matinee at Angel Stadium. Eovaldi last pitched on June 26 at Houston, earning the victory after permitting two runs in six innings. He is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in three career starts vs. the Angels.
Angels: Right-hander Matt Shoemaker takes the mound on normal rest looking for an Angels sweep. His last start was pushed back two days so he could get his timing in sync, and it seemed to pay off, as he put together a six-inning, two-run outing against the Mariners.
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