Published September 10, 2011
| Associated Press
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Although Jered Weaver left the New York Yankees in awe after eight shutdown innings, he didn't leave the mound with a victory.
Maicer Izturis made sure the Los Angeles Angels didn't completely waste another stellar start by their ace.
Izturis connected for a pinch-hit, bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, and the Angels rallied to beat New York 2-1 Friday night for their fifth win in six games.
Weaver struck out 11 Yankees during eight innings of dazzling three-hit ball. Rookie Jesus Montero hit a third-inning homer, but was the only New York hitter to reach second base.
After giving up 13 runs in his previous two starts, Weaver was back in the form that earned him an $85 million contract last month.
"It was good to be able to bounce back against a lineup like that," Weaver said. "Those guys can hit a bunch of homers and put some balls in play, so to have a good one like this brought the confidence level back up."
Weaver's teammates couldn't solve Bartolo Colon, who yielded six hits and an unearned run in seven resilient innings. Weaver was left without a win for the sixth time in eight starts, but the Yankees already know what's waiting for them if they end up facing Los Angeles in the postseason.
"You look up 'pitcher' in the dictionary, you'd have a picture of him," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said of Weaver. "He knows what he's doing out there ... and he's been pitching like that the whole year for them."
Los Angeles finally finished it against New York's bullpen. After Alberto Callaspo led off the ninth with an infield single off Aaron Laffey (2-2), Vernon Wells singled to left off Luis Ayala, who then hit Peter Bourjos with a pitch.
Izturis' drive to center easily scored pinch-runner Jeremy Moore for the Angels' 10th win of the season on their final swing.
"We obviously weren't ripping the cover off the ball tonight, but Weave kept us in it and went pitch for pitch with Colon," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We got to that situation late with great execution."
Angels closer Jordan Walden (5-3) pitched the ninth, and Howie Kendrick had a run-scoring single as the Angels stayed 2½ games behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, who pounded Oakland 13-4 earlier Friday.
"We're persistent," said Mark Trumbo, the Angels' slugging rookie first baseman. "I think we've all thought the whole way that it's really not how you start, but how you finish. As unhappy as we were at some points of the season, everyone had a good morale."
Montero hit his third career homer for the AL-leading Yankees, who have lost three straight — including one loss on each side of the continent in the past two days. New York, which lost an extra-inning game at Baltimore on Thursday, missed a chance to increase its 2½-game lead on the Boston Red Sox, who lost to Tampa Bay 7-2 earlier in the day.
"We had our opportunities, but they just played better tonight," Yankees catcher Russell Martin said. "We never really were able to get something together. ... (Weaver) pitched really tough. We have as good a lineup as anybody has, so you tip your cap to that guy."
Colon stranded seven Los Angeles runners in a resilient effort. The 38-year-old is still winless in his last seven starts, but manager Joe Girardi is encouraged by his recent efforts.
"My sinker was working really, really good," Colon said through a translator. "I feel like I did at the beginning of the season. My command was really good today."
Eight days after Montero's major league debut — and four days after hitting his first two homers in the same game against Baltimore — the prized Venezuelan prospect led off the third inning with a long drive to the bullpens in left field.
Colon dominated the first four innings, but Bourjos put down a bunt single in the fifth. After Jeter's throwing error allowed poor-hitting Jeff Mathis to reach base, Kendrick drove home Bourjos with a two-out single to right.
The Yankees played without right fielder Nick Swisher, who felt pain in his throwing arm during Thursday's game in Baltimore. Andruw Jones went 0 for 2 with a walk in place of Swisher, who hopes to return to the lineup this weekend after being examined by doctors.
NOTES: Former Yankees manager Joe Torre attended the game, speaking with Jeter in the dugout beforehand. Torre kept his residence in Los Angeles after leaving the Dodgers last year. ... CC Sabathia faces Dan Haren in a pitching showdown Saturday. Sabathia is going for his 20th victory for the second straight season, while Haren is looking for his 15th win. ... Reggie Jackson threw out the first pitch. Mr. October played five seasons with the California Angels during the 1980s, making three All-Star teams after leaving New York, where he also spent five seasons. Jackson is a special adviser to the Yankees, but the Hall of Famer wore a red Angels jacket while receiving a big ovation from the Anaheim crowd.