Published November 20, 2014
Alex Rodriguez gave the bat a twirl a couple of times and strutted to home plate with Yankees fans in a frenzy.
He certainly was relishing the moment — after all, A-Rod is tied with Lou Gehrig for most grand slams in major league history.
Instead, the outcome was more in line with his performance with the bases loaded this season.
Rodriguez popped out to cut short the Yankees' ninth-inning rally, and New York lost to the Los Angeles Angels 10-8 on Sunday thanks in part to several baserunning blunders.
"What an awesome situation," Rodriguez said. "We just came up short."
Rodriguez's shallow fly off Kevin Jepsen dropped him to 2 for 12 this year with the bases loaded. One of those hits was his 23rd grand slam, trying Gehrig for the lead.
The out also handed the Yankees their ninth loss in 32 games.
Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Ernesto Frieri to make it 10-7, the first runs off the closer since he joined the Angels on May 3 — a span of 26 1-3 innings.
After a walk to Nick Swisher, Scott Downs came in with a 1-0 count to Raul Ibanez. Downs had given up Teixeira's go-ahead homer in Friday's loss, and he struggled again.
Ibanez knocked the glove off Downs with a sharp grounder to reach base on an infield single. Pinch-hitter Andruw Jones struck out, Russell Martin had a fielder's choice and Derek Jeter walked to load the bases.
Downs then walked Curtis Granderson to make it 10-8 before Jepsen entered. He retired Rodriguez for his first save since 2009, helping the Angels avoid their first three-game sweep in New York since 1995.
"Me against you, here it is," Jepsen said of his approach against Rodriguez.
Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar hit consecutive home runs off Ivan Nova in the first inning for Los Angeles. Maicer Izturis had a go-ahead, two-run shot in the sixth and Mark Trumbo connected in the ninth. The American League rivals combined for eight homers.
"Felt like today was a pretty good day to get one up in the air," said Trumbo, who homered against New York for the sixth time in seven games.
Mike Trout's RBI double, Bobby Wilson's run-scoring single and Aybar's squeeze play in the eighth gave the Angels what appeared to be a comfortable margin.
Jered Weaver (11-1) was hardly at his best in winning his fifth straight start since coming off the disabled list June 20, giving up more than one earned run for the first time since May 18. He allowed five runs and 10 hits in seven innings.
"In this stadium you have to pitch to the score, keep you team in the game as much as possible," Weaver said. "You never get a break with that lineup."
The Yankees spared him more trouble by running into four outs on the bases, including a big blunder in the third inning.
With one out, runners on first and third and Teixeira at bat, Robinson Cano was caught off first base. While he was in a rundown, Rodriguez inched off third. After Cano was tagged out for a caught stealing, the indecisive Rodriguez made a late attempt to score but Aybar, the shortstop, threw home and A-Rod was easily tagged out by Wilson.
"I don't mind being aggressive but sometimes they're going to make mistakes," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "That's the human part of the game."
Rodriguez had gone 49 at-bats without a homer before he hit No. 643 of his career in the first. The two-run shot gave him his first multi-RBI game since June 12. His two-run homer snapped Weaver's scoreless streak at 20 2-3 innings.
Jeter singled in a run in the second for a 3-2 lead, but he was caught rounding first for the third out of the inning.
In the fifth, Eric Chavez got doubled off first when Weaver caught Martin's popped up bunt.
Nova (10-4) breezed through the Angels' lineup after a rocky first, yielding only two hits until Kendrys Morales led off the sixth with a single. He was pulled after allowing Trout's double and Aybar's single to open the seventh.
Nova gave up six runs and nine hits.
"I feel like I can do better than this," Nova said.
Granderson made an over-the-shoulder catch slamming into the wall in straightaway center field for the second out of the third inning. He received a loud ovation as he ran off the field at the end of the inning and when he led off the bottom half.
NOTES: Cano tied a career high with a hit in an 18th straight game. ... Angels RF Torii Hunter didn't start for a second straight game because of a sore groin. He entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth. ... The Yankees won the season series 5-4. ... Yankees GM Brian Cashman said the asking price on the trade market is too high and that the Yankees will likely be minor players if they do make any moves before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.