When the breakthrough finally came for the Los Angeles Angels during a frustrating series against the New York Yankees, they were able to rally for their second largest margin of victory on the young season.
Tommy La Stella and Kole Calhoun hit two-run home runs in the fifth inning, David Fletcher drove in a career-high five and the Angels beat the Yankees 11-5 Thursday night to avoid a four-game sweep.
La Stella hit his seventh homer, breaking a tie with Mike Trout and Calhoun for the team lead as Los Angeles ended the Yankees’ six-game winning streak. La Stella had never hit more than five homers in a season.
“It gave us life for sure,” Fletcher said of his teammates’ home runs in the fifth inning. “Kole’s tied the game and from there we felt like we were definitely back in it and had some momentum going.”
Fletcher had a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth and a three-run triple in the seventh, when the Angels took control with five runs.
“It was very needed,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “The energy had been really good in the clubhouse, in the dugout. Guys had their spirits up. The first half of the game today, I sensed they were a little bit down, but once we got two runs to start, it kind of picked up right where it had been the last few days.”
Gio Urshela homered for the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka (2-2) cruised through four before getting rocked in the fifth. It was the first career loss for Tanaka against the Angels in seven starts after entering with a 1.59 ERA against them.
Tanaka gave up six runs (five earned) and six hits over 5 2/3 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. Tanaka had just one whiff among his 89 pitches, which set a career low.
After DJ LeMahieu’s RBI single in the third and Urshela’s first home run with the Yankees in the fourth, New York made it 4-0 in the fifth with a run on Justin Anderson’s wild pitch and another on Gleyber Torres’ single.
The Angels got a single from Jonathan Lucroy to lead off the fifth, followed by La Stella’s home run to right-center. Luis Rengifo singled with one out, his first major league hit, and Calhoun followed with a home run, his sixth.
“It was just basically bad execution,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “I just couldn’t hit my spot and they didn’t miss it.”
Tanaka walked two in the sixth before being replaced by Jonathan Holder, who allowed Fletcher’s single.
Stephen Tarpley and Joe Harvey combined to walk four and allow five runs to the Angels in the seventh. It’s New York’s ninth loss after leading this season.
The Angels earned a needed victory after losing nine of 10. Trout walked twice and had a single, going 2 for 12 in the series with seven walks.
Angels starter Trevor Cahill gave up four runs and six hits over four-plus innings with four walks. Right-hander Noe Ramirez (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings.
Gary Sanchez threw out Trout on a steal attempt in fourth, Sanchez’s first caught stealing of the season.
New Yankees outfielder Cameron Maybin arrived at LAX on Thursday following his trade from the Cleveland Indians and made his way into the Yankees clubhouse just before first pitch. He was acquired for cash considerations after Clint Frazier was placed on the 10-day injured list late Wednesday with a left ankle sprain.
Angels: Shohei Ohtani faced live pitching in an early afternoon hitting session for the second consecutive day, coming to the plate five times as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. … Zack Cozart went on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Wednesday, with a neck strain. … Andrew Heaney had a short bullpen session Wednesday and is expected to have another Saturday as he recovers from an elbow injury.
Yankees: Miguel Andújar is expected to play four or five innings in an extended spring training game Friday as he recovers from a shoulder injury. … Troy Tulowitzki (calf) passed a running test Wednesday and ran the bases again Thursday as he gets set for a possible game at extended spring training Sunday.
Yankees: James Paxton (2-2, 3.10), who has struck out 25 of his last 50 batters, will be on the mound for the Yankees on Friday at San Francisco in the opener of a three-game series.
Angels: Tyler Skaggs (1-2, 4.20 ERA) is expected to return from an ankle injury for his fourth start of the season Friday when the Angels open a three-game series at Kansas City.
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