Yanks hope to avoid the brooms in Anaheim

The New York Yankees try to avoid a fifth straight loss game set with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium.

Luckily for the Yanks, though, the Boston Red Sox have also hit the skids and New York has been able to maintain its 2 1/2-game edge atop the American League East.

But while the Yankees are struggling to hold onto first place, the Angels are now nipping at the heels of the Texas Rangers in the AL West. The Halos moved within 1 1/2 games of the defending AL champions on Saturday, as Dan Haren tossed a four-hit shutout to deny CC Sabathia his 20th win in Anaheim's 6-0 triumph.

Haren (15-8) also struck out seven without walking a batter and allowed just one runner to reach second base after Derek Jeter led off the game with a double.

"I attacked the zone and didn't walk anyone. I had good stuff," Haren said.

Sabathia (19-8) gave up just one run on eight hits and four walks over six frames for the Yankees, who were forced to use Jorge Posada behind the plate when Russell Martin left the game after getting hit with a pitch.

Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are a combined 0-for-15 with eight strikeouts in the first two games of this series

"We're not swinging the bats," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's frustrating, but we'll bounce back."

The Angels will send righty Ervin Santana to the hill on Sunday, as he tries to bounce back from a hard-luck loss his last time out. Santana gave up just two unearned runs in six innings on Tuesday to Seattle, but was on the wrong end of a 2-1 decision, dropping him to 11-10 on the year to go along with a 3.18 earned run average.

Santana lost to the Yankees earlier in the year and is 5-4 lifetime against them with a 5.37 ERA in 11 starts.

New York, meanwhile, will rely on veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia, who is 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA. Garcia was awful on Monday against Baltimore, as he was tagged for seven runs and nine hits in just 2 2/3 innings. His offense bailed him out, however, and he escaped without a decision in his team's 11-10 win.

"They hit every pitch I threw," said Garcia, who gave up more than four runs for just the third time this season. "It wasn't one pitch. They hit the slider, split, slow curve, fastball. They hit it. Everything I have."

Garcia should get back on track this afternoon, as he owns a 15-3 career mark against the Angels with a 2.42 ERA in 26 starts.

The Yankees have split their eight meetings with the Angels this season and took two of three in Anaheim back in early June.