NEW YORK – Albert Pujols is still looking for his first home run with his new team. Torii Hunter is having a hard time making contact. Jerome Williams was gone by the third inning.
Early this season, the Los Angeles Angels are struggling to live up to lofty expectations.
Derek Jeter hit a three-run homer to extend his fast start and Ivan Nova won his 14th straight decision, leading the New York Yankees to an 11-5 victory over the Angels on Sunday night.
"It's only nine games in," second baseman Howie Kendrick said after the Angels dropped to 3-6. "If guess if we were playing a 10-game season, we'd be in trouble."
Raul Ibanez added a titanic homer and Jeter also doubled during a four-run rally to help the Yankees take two of three in an early series between high-priced teams expected to challenge for the American League pennant.
The prime-time crowd for a nationally televised game included Tim Tebow and Dwyane Wade, who sat side by side wearing Yankees caps in the third row next to the Los Angeles dugout. The new backup quarterback for the New York Jets, Tebow was mostly booed when he was shown on the giant video board — but he cracked a smile anyway.
New York spoiled Williams' season debut while sending Pujols and the Angels to their sixth defeat in eight games. The $240 million slugger went 1 for 5 with an RBI single in the seventh that cut it to 8-5, but David Robertson retired Mark Trumbo on a bases-loaded fly to end the inning.
"These guys know they're good and they will come around," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Pujols has gone nine games without a homer, his longest drought to start a season.
Williams (0-1) was activated before the game after beginning the season on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. He lasted only 2 2-3 innings in his first loss with the Angels, giving up five runs, five hits and three walks on 47 pitches.
"I felt like everything I threw up there was a hit or they were going to take," Williams said.
Chris Iannetta homered for the second consecutive day, a two-run shot, and Trumbo also went deep for the Angels. Maicer Izturis had an RBI double in the sixth but third baseman Alex Rodriguez made a diving play to get Nova out of the inning with an 8-4 lead.
Kendrick had his second consecutive three-hit game for the Angels and nearly hit for the cycle. Needing a home run to do it — the longtime Yankees nemesis hit one Saturday — he almost got it with a drive that barely sliced foul in the eighth. On the next pitch, Kendrick grounded out.
Fighting a cold and fever, Nova (2-0) struck out eight over six innings. Often the beneficiary of big run support, the 25-year-old right-hander hasn't lost in the regular season since the Angels beat him 3-2 on June 3.
"The guy has great stuff," Kendrick said. "He's got an electric fastball, he throws his breaking balls for strikes and he knows how to pitch."
In the third inning, Nova fanned Kendrick, Pujols and Hunter in succession. Hunter struck out in six consecutive at-bats before his seventh-inning flyout.
"I know I'm not doing my job right now," he said. "The last two games I played, it was pretty rough. But we've just got to keep hacking. We've been here before, most of us, we've been off to slow starts. It's been eight games, nine games — we'll make some adjustments."
Nova's winning streak ties Hall of Famer Whitey Ford and Steve Sundra (1938-39) for the second-longest by a Yankees pitcher since 1920. Roger Clemens won 16 straight in 2001.
Nova was actually demoted to the minors during his winning streak — where he lost twice for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last July. He finished 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA as a rookie last season.
Jeter made it 8-1 when he connected off Hisanori Takahashi in the fourth, sending a drive to the short porch in right for his second homer of the season. New York has won five of six after opening 0-3.
Tebow and Wade were gone by the seventh, when Swisher hit an RBI single and Ibanez greeted Jason Isringhausen with a two-run drive into the suite level between the second and third decks at new Yankee Stadium.
Hunter, standing in right field after the ball soared over him, was caught on camera mouthing, "Wow."
"That's one of the farthest ones I've seen," Jeter said.
Ibanez's second homer with New York made it 11-5, and the designated hitter finished with three RBIs. Robinson Cano, named for Jackie Robinson, scored three runs and reached safely four times 65 years to the day after the Brooklyn Dodgers star broke baseball's color barrier.
NOTES: Angels pitchers Jered Weaver and Dan Haren both flew back to California before the game to get some extra rest for their upcoming starts. Weaver goes Monday night at home against Oakland, followed by Haren on Tuesday. ... Los Angeles rested cleanup hitter Kendrys Morales, who doesn't have an RBI in 30 at-bats this season. "He's been grinding. We need him to hit stride and he will," Scioscia said, adding he just wanted to give Morales "a chance to catch his breath." Trumbo was the DH.