NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius and Matthew Holliday homered, Austin Romine collected three hits and closer Albertin Chapman put an exclamation point on the end of the Yankees' season-high seven-game skid on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, closing out an 8-4 victory over the Angels with a 102.9-mph pitch. The
NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius and Matthew Holliday homered, Austin Romine collected three hits and closer Albertin Chapman put an exclamation point on the end of the Yankees' season-high seven-game skid on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, closing out an 8-4 victory over the Angels with a 102.9-mph pitch. The fastball that struck out Eric Young was the fastest pitch in the Majors this season, according to Statcast™, and moved New York back into first place in the American League East.
Gregorius put New York on the board with a two-run homer in the second inning and Holliday drilled a solo homer in the fifth off Ricky Nolasco, who was charged with five runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. The losing streak was the Yanks' longest since April 2007, but Gregorius said there was no panic in the clubhouse.
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"Our confidence level was always up," Gregorius said. "You can't win them all, but you can't lose them all, either. We lost seven in a row, but it shows the team is still together. Nobody tried to be selfish, and today we broke out of it. We played a really good game."
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Romine greeted Mike Morin with a two-run double in the sixth, runs charged to Nolasco, whose team has lost 12 of his 15 starts this year. Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro and Chase Headley later added RBI singles as the Yankees bounced back from their brutal West Coast trip to inch a half-game ahead of the Red Sox in the division.
"I think we've handled it pretty well," Holliday said. "No one has changed the way we've gone about it. Everyone's attitude has been positive. The energy has been good. We've lost a few close games that could have gone our way, but it's good to get back in the win column, headed in the right direction."
Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery picked up his third victory in four starts, limiting the Angels to Martin Maldonado's two-run homer over 5 2/3 innings. The rookie left-hander scattered five hits and two walks, striking out five in a 97-pitch effort. Chad Green and Dellin Betances pitched effectively in relief.
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"I wasn't really feeling the weight [of the losing streak], but I definitely wanted to go out there and give the team everything I had," Montgomery said. "The curveball has been good the last couple of starts. I'm starting to figure out how to make it sharper or bigger and look more like my fastball."
Maldonado added a second homer in the ninth off Tyler Clippard.
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Yes In-Didi: Gregorius jumped on a 74.4-mph Nolasco curveball in the second inning, parking it into the right-field seats for a two-run homer that gave the Yankees their first lead of the homestand. It was Gregorius' eighth homer of the season, though Nolasco might have a legitimate gripe about the short porch -- the drive had an exit velocity of 91.5 mph and a launch angle of 36 degrees, and similarly hit balls have gone for homers just 3 percent of the time, according to Statcast™.
"Any other park, obviously, it's not out," Nolasco said. "Anything that kind of gets up in the air to right field, you kind of hold your breath. But that's the park. He did a good job of putting it there, and it went out."
Austin powered: Giving catcher Gary Sanchez a half-day at designated hitter while Holliday manned first base, Romine collected career hits No. 99, 100 and 101 in the victory. The most important was his two-run double to left-center off Morin in the sixth inning, chasing Sanchez and Headley home as the Yanks pulled away. Romine owns a .359 average (23-for-64) with runners in scoring position since the start of 2016.
"I'm blessed with a couple of good hitting coaches," Romine said of Alan Cockrell and Marcus Thames. "They keep me mentally in the right state of mind in my approach. We've got a good staff around here that helps us succeed as much as we can; a lot of hitting underneath in the tunnels and waiting for the call."
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The Angels have lost each of Nolasco's last 10 starts. They are eight games over .500 (34-26) when anybody else starts in 2017. While Nolasco has recorded a 5.79 ERA over that span, he's also been hurt by a lack of consistent run support. Entering Wednesday, the Angels had averaged 2.8 runs of support in Nolasco's outings, the lowest mark in the Majors.
"I think there were a number of starts where you're talking about lack of support," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think we've lost every game that Ricky's pitched because he's pitched poorly. There's games where he's definitely given us chances to win, so you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater as you sort this out." More >
Angels: Right-hander Jesse Chavez will start Thursday night's series finale against the Yankees at 4:05 PT. In 10 career appearances against New York, including four starts, Chavez is 4-1 with a 2.97 ERA.
Yankees: Right-hander Luis Severino (5-2, 2.99 ERA) is undefeated in his last eight starts, a streak that he will try to extend when the Yankees complete their three-game series with the Angels on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET.
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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow
him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.