07/12/09 9:20 PM ET
Missed chances costly for Yankees
Four-run frame sends Sabathia to loss vs. Angels
By Quinn Roberts / MLB.com
That is the motto the New York Yankees could not avoid Sunday when they were unable to take advantage of having the bases loaded and no outs twice, losing to the Angels, 5-4, in front of 41,532 at Angel Stadium.
The three-game sweep at the hands of the Angels moved the Yankees three games back of Boston in the American League East. It was also their second sweep in their last three series In Anaheim.
"We don't like struggling against a team like the Angels," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's not the end of the world or the end of the season, we just didn't play good out here, but we will get another crack at them."
The first bases-loaded, no-out situation came in the seventh inning, when with a run already home, Mark Teixeira struck out and Alex Rodriguez grounded into an inning-ending double play on a slick play by Angels third baseman Chone Figgins.
"I got a good pitch to hit, put a good swing on it, hit the ball well," Rodriguez said. "The Angels were just being the Angels."
Again in the eighth inning, after a sacrifice fly by Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher hit into an inning-ending double play, hitting a liner to pitcher Darren Oliver, who threw to first to double off Melky Cabrera.
"I hit the ball hard and the next thing you know, I looked up and saw him turn to throw to first base," Swisher said. "Hats off to him, because it was a heck of a play.
"We had some chances to do some stuff, it just never fell our way and we never really caught a break."
Rodriguez, who has been on the other end of countless double plays, understood just how great both turns were.
"Those are two of the most amazing double plays I have seen," Rodriguez said. "Figgins to Morales with the great play at first and then Oliver, it is just one of those things."
The two double plays prevented the Yankees from continuing to scrape away at the Angels' lead after the Yankees got out to an early 1-0 lead on a fielder's choice by Derek Jeter in the third inning.
For Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia, the fourth inning spelled trouble when he gave up a single to Maicer Izturis, doubles to Bobby Abreu and Howard Kendrick and a bloop single to Robb Quinlan, scoring four runs.
"He got some balls up today and they didn't miss them," Girardi said. "He had the one toughing inning and that is that."
With the loss, Sabathia dropped to 8-6 with a 3.86 ERA after giving up five earned runs on nine hits. For Sabathia, it was only the second time in his last five starts that he allowed more than three hits.
"I thought I had pretty good stuff today, I just couldn't put guys away when I needed to," Sabathia said. "You really have to keep their fast guys off the basepaths today and I couldn't do that."
One of the Angels' fastest guys on the basepaths Sunday was Figgins, who not only turned the pivotal double play in the seventh, but also tripled and scored the deciding run in the bottom of the seventh.
"You look at Figgins and he is one of the leaders in average and scoring runs and he is a versatile player who really creates turmoil," said Girardi.
Girardi is just happy the All-Star break can give his players a few days to relax and get ready for their opening series against Detroit.
"We can't let this carry into Friday. We have a few days off to regroup," Girardi said. "We have been playing good baseball. We didn't necessarily play so well here, but you are going to go through those streaks.
"Let's just end it Friday and get back to what we are used to doing."
Quinn Roberts is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.