Angels rally to defeat the Yankees, 8-4
But on Sunday they both delivered, with Abreu singling and homering against Vazquez and Wood driving in his first two runs of the season, leading the Angels to an 8-4 win over the New York Yankees before a sun-splashed crowd of 42,284 at Angel Stadium.
Kendry Morales also had a big day, reaching base four times on two singles, a walk and a three-run home run in the seventh inning that put the game away.
The homer, Morales’ sixth of the season, came a couple of Damaso Marte pitches after the Yankees seemed to change their minds about intentionally walking the switch-hitting slugger.
But then Abreu and Morales have been hitting well all season. Not so Wood, who entered the game batting .102 without an extra-base hit or an RBI.
He got both in a four-run fourth when he drove a sinking liner to left that fooled the Yankees' Marcus Thames, who took a step back, then came charging in to make an unsuccessful attempt at a diving catch.
The resulting double scored two runs, turning a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead. The Angels never trailed again.
The Yankees got on the board first with a three-run second inning that began with Angel starter Scott Kazmir drilling lead-off batter Robinson Cano with a fastball.
Cano homered twice off the left-hander in his first start this season at Yankee Stadium and Kazmir showed he hasn’t forgotten that by buzzing his first pitch under Cano’s chin. His second pitch didn’t miss, nailing Cano between the numbers on his back.
Cano would eventually get his revenge, homering off Kazmir to lead off the sixth. But Jorge Posada didn’t have to wait that long to put his own kind of hurt on the Angels pitcher, following the second-inning plunking of Cano by lining the first pitch he saw into the pine trees beyond the center-field wall to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
Thames followed that with a double off the wall in left-center before coming around to score on Derek Jeter’s fielder’s choice groundout to make it 3-0.
The Angels answered in the third on Abreu’s two-out solo homer, his third of the season and his 10th in 76 lifetime at-bats against Vazquez, more than twice as many homers as he has against any other big-league pitcher.
Abreu wouldn’t get to face Vazquez (1-3) again, though, since Yankees Manager Joe Girardi pulled the right-hander an inning later after the Angels had gone ahead.
Five consecutive batters reached base with one out in the four-run rally, the big blow being Wood’s bases-loaded double.
The two runs batted in were the first for Wood since last July 12, also against the Yankees, while the four runs in the inning matched the Angels’ largest rally of the season.
That made a winner of Kazmir (2-1), who struggled with his control all day. Although Kazmir left a batter after Cano’s homer, having allowed just three hits, two of those hits were home runs and he also walked four and hit a batter.
The Angel bullpen was much stronger with Jason Bulger, Kevin Jepsen, Fernando Rodney and Scot Shields combining to hold the Yankees hitless over the final 3 2/3 innings.
Photo: Angels first baseman Kendry Morales celebrates as he trots home following a decisive three-run home run in the seventh inning Sunday against the Yankees. Credit: Andrew Gombert / EPA