Escobar sharp as Angels beat YankeesMay 26, 2007 - 10:32 PM BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- Ron Roenicke took the managerial reins and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim did what they always seem to do - beat the New York Yankees and score first-inning runs.
Kelvim Escobar made three first-inning runs stand with seven effective frames as the Angels continued their success at Yankee Stadium with a 3-1 victory on Saturday.
Gary Matthews Jr. had a two-run triple and Casey Kotchman added an RBI single in the first for Anaheim, which has won for the eighth time in 10 games.
After Friday's 10-6 win, Angels manager Mike Scioscia flew back to California to attend his son's high school graduation. That put Roenicke in charge for just the fourth time since becoming Scioscia's bench coach in 2000.
On Saturday, he saw the Angels beat the Yankees for the 17th time in the last 25 regular-season games. He also watched the Angels use their regular formula for victories - first-inning runs and effective pitching.
"Escobar's been pitching great," Roenicke said. "He had the one outing where he was a little bit off. But his stuff is so good that when he's commanding the ball like he did today and like he's been doing, he's really tough to hit."
After scoring three in the first on Saturday, they have outscored their opponents, 52-19, in the opening frame. Anaheim has won its last eight games when scoring in the first and 21 of 24 overall.
"It's great," Roenicke said of the first inning success. "I can look at things a little different. We can be more aggressive. We didn't end up getting a lot of people on base but we still have been getting it done so we can be more aggressive."
"That's always easy, especially with the starting rotation we have," Angels reliever Scot Shields added. "We're confident (that) if we put up some runs early on, it's going to hold up and it did today."
The Angels could have had more than three against Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang (3-4), but Orlando Cabrera just missed a two-run home run as he hit a long foul ball to left. After Cabrera grounded out, his teammates picked up the slack.
Vladimir Guerrero lined a first-pitch single and Matthews roped a triple that rolled to the wall in left-center field, scoring Reggie Willits and Guerrero.
"He's got good stuff and you just try to take advantage of the opportunities you get," Matthews said. "We got some guys on in that first inning. You give to give us some credit, I didn't think they were neccessarily bad pitches, he's got good stuff. You got to figure if you can score three or four runs off a starter, you got to give yourself a shot to win."
Kotchman, who homered Friday and had three hits Saturday, followed by lining a base hit just over shortstop Derek Jeter's glove after the Yankees brought the infield in. Kotchman was stranded at first when Howie Kendrick struck out and Chone Figgins was robbed of a base hit by Yankees first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz.
The slow start sent the Yankees to their 10th loss in 15 games and dropped them a season-high 11 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East Division. During this slump, the Yankees have scored three runs or less eight times.
"Normally with our type of offense, it shouldn't be a problem," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Giving up three runs shouldn't cost us a game with our offense."
Escobar (6-2) allowed one run and six hits while striking out eight and walking one. He threw 72 of 103 pitches for strikes but said his approach does not change with a three-run lead.
"I wasn't thinking about the lead," Escobar said. "I always stay with my game plan and (I was) just going out there and no matter how the game is and pound the strike zone and getting people out. But it definitely helped when you get the lead and you're going to keep it like that, especially (with) the kind of lineup they have and the right field line is short, you're going to be aggressive and don't walk anybody and just get people out."
The veteran righthander has won five of his last six starts while surrendering 10 earned runs and 34 hits during the stretch.
"I don't think I ever had a start like I've had this year," Escobar said. "And I want to continue to do that, just keep working hard and just keep learning every day and figure out the hitters and go out there and keep doing what I do and have good results."
"He did good," Angels catcher Jose Molina said. "He just has been really effective. He throws strikes (and is) getting ahead of hitters. When you do that, that's what you get - good outings."
Shields pitched a scoreless eight and Francisco Rodriguez worked out of trouble in the ninth for his 15th save in 16 opportunities.
Escobar pitched eight scoreless innings in Sunday's 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers and scattered three hits in that outing. On Saturday, he gave up a hit in every inning except the third and seventh but recorded key outs when he needed to.
In the second, the Yankees had runners at first and third with two outs after Mientkiewicz reached on second baseman Howie Kendrick's throwing error. But Escobar ended the inning by striking out Melky Cabrera.
The Yankees broke through in the fourth as Alex Rodriguez singled, stole second, took third on a groundout and scored on Mientkiewicz's base hit. Escobar finished the frame as he struck out Robinson Cano on a splitter and retired Cabrera on a flyout to center.
The Yankees ran themselves out of the fifth as Bobby Abreu ran on contact but was easily doubled off first on Hideki Matsui's lineout to second. They also wasted Jorge Posada's one-out double in the sixth as Escobar fanned Jason Giambi and retired Cano on a soft groundout to second.
Escobar appeared to tire in the seventh as he issued a one-out walk to Cabrera and quickly fell behind Abreu. But he recovered and struck out Abreu and retired Jeter on a flyout to center.
Shields gave up a leadoff walk to Matsui in the eighth but retired Rodriguez on a double play and Posada on a flyout.
Rodriguez allowed two-out singles to pinch hitter Johnny Damon and Cabrera. He ended the game by striking out Abreu, who thought the pitch was outside and flung his helmet in frustration.
"I thought it was way away," Abreu said. "In that situation you have to be sure which one is a ball and which one is a strike. That one is way off the plate."
"I'm not saying he umpired a bad game," Torre said of plate umpire Jeff Nelson. "I can't give you that evaluation but it's just how much the pitched missed by that got me."
After the rocky first inning, Wang (3-4), worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second and retired 16 of the next 20 hitters.
"The first inning, too much balls were high and down the middle (of the plate)," Wang said. "If I don't give up three runs that first inning, the team has a chance to win."
Wang, who had won his previous two starts, went a season-high eight innings and allowed three runs and six hits.
"He did seem to settle down from there (first inning)," Matthews said. "It's a tough day when you go eight innings and you get the loss and only give up three runs."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
LA ANGELS 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 1
NY YANKEES 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: LAA - KELVIM ESCOBAR, SCOT SHIELDS (8TH), FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ (9TH)
AND JOSE MOLINA
NYY - CHIEN-MING WANG, MARIANO RIVERA (9TH) AND JORGE
HOME RUNS: LAA -
May 26 3:56 PM
AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ SCORED ALEX RODRIGUEZ.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D MIENTKIEWICZ ON FIRST, J GIAMBI ON SECOND, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: LA ANGELS 3
NY YANKEES 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: M CABRERA (.213, 0-FOR-1)
Angels vs. YankeesMay 26 2:26 PM
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
LA ANGELS 3 3 3 0
NY YANKEES 0 0 0 (BOT 1)
CURRENT PITCHERS: LAA - KELVIM ESCOBAR
NYY - CHIEN-MING WANG
DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: B ABREU (.236, 2 HR, 22 RBI)
D JETER (.364, 3 HR, 28 RBI)
H MATSUI (.287, 4 HR, 23 RB
Angels vs. YankeesMay 26 1:21 PM
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