Angels lose again, this time to the Yankees, 7-5
The Angels made things interesting in the ninth inning when Howie Kendrick, Jeff Mathis and Brandon Wood singled, and Bobby Abreu hit a grand slam off reliever David Robertson to cut a 7-1 Yankees lead to 7-5. But closer Mariano Rivera came on to strike out Torii Hunter and retire Hideki Matsui on a pop to second to end the game.
The loss in the Yankees' home opener came after the Yankees, who eliminated the Angels from the playoffs last fall, received their World Series rings in a pregame ceremony.
The loss dropped the Angels to 2-6, their worst start to a season since they went 2-6 at the beginning of 1972. Since a 6-3 opening-day win over Minnesota, the Angels have been outscored, 48-23, in the last seven games.
The Angels have allowed a home run in all eight games and have been out-homered 14-10 this season. They also went two for nine with runners in scoring position Tuesday and are batting .258 (16-62) with runners in scoring position on the season.
Santana grooved a 1-and-1 first-inning fastball to Johnson, who drove it deep into the right-center field seats for a 1-0 lead, and a 2-0 fastball to Jeter, who homered to right-center to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the third. Jeter also drove in a run with an infield single to make it 3-0 in the fourth.
The Angels failed to score after putting two on with one out in the second and two one with no outs in the fifth. With runners on first and third and one out in the sixth, Yankees veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte got Kendrick, a career .426 hitter against the Yankees, to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Yankees padded their lead with two runs in the sixth after loading the bases on two walks by Santana and one by reliever Jason Bulger. Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run single off the glove of diving third baseman Brandon Wood to give New York a 5-0 lead.
Kendry Morales hit a solo homer in the top of the eighth, and the Yankees added what turned out to be two key insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Bobby Cassevah, on Jorge Posada's RBI double and Curtis Granderson's RBI single
--Mike DiGiovanna in New York
Photo: Erick Aybar can not hold on the ball as the Yankees' Robinson Cano gets back to second base. Credit: Justin Lane / EPA.