ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Little Pinstriped Engine That Could didn’t Thursday night.
Looking for a four-game sweep to open a nine-tilt Western road trip, the Yankees grabbed a four-run lead in the fifth and appeared to be a lock against the woeful Angels with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound and throwing blanks.
Nevertheless, Tanaka gave up a pair of two-run homers in the fifth and the two runners he left Jonathan Holder scored in the sixth to carry the hosts to an 11-5 victory in front of an announced gathering of 39,584 at Angel Stadium.
The Yankees were attempting to cop their first four-game sweep in Orange County since July 21-24, 1994 but failed miserably. The loss stopped a season-high six-game winning streak and sent the 14-11 Yankees to San Francisco for three weekend games against the Giants.
Stephen Tarpley, Joe Harvey and Gio Urshela’s fielding error led to the Angels scoring five runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
Thanks to a run in the third, another in the fourth on Urshela’s homer and two in the fifth the Yankees had a 4-0 lead that easily could have been larger had they not stranded seven runners and gone 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position through five frames.
After going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and a fielding error on Wednesday night in his first game off the injured list, Gary Sanchez whiffed in his first at-bat Thursday. He walked in the third and fifth innings, grounded out in the seventh and flied out with the bases loaded to end the eighth. He was charged with his first passed ball of the season in the sixth that helped the Angels score twice and tagged with a second one in the seventh.
Tanaka (2-2) departed with two out and two on in the sixth when Holder took over. Sanchez and Holder didn’t sync up on the signs and Sanchez was charged with a passed ball when Holder was pitching to David Fletcher. With runners at second and third Fletcher’s ground-ball single to left scored two and put the Angels up, 6-4.
In 5 ²/₃ innings Tanaka gave up six runs (five runs) and six hits in a park where he was 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA in three starts.
Tanaka held the Angels scoreless through four but a leadoff walk to Jonathan Lucroy in the fifth was followed by Tommy La Stella’s home run to right-center that cut the Yankees’ lead to 4-2. Tanaka retired Fletcher on a grounder to short in front of Luis Rengifo’s single that was followed by Kole Calhoun’s blast that landed in the right-field seats and tied the score.
The Yankees loaded the bases against Trevor Cahill in the fifth without an out. Luke Voit and Brett Gardner singled in front of Sanchez who drew a second walk. Justin Anderson replaced Cahill to face Mike Tauchman and struck him out on a 3-2 fastball. Anderson then bounced a pitch to Gleyber Torres in the dirt that got by Lucroy and allowed Voit to score for a 3-0 lead.
With runners on second and third, Torres singled home Gardner and put runners at the corners for Mike Ford with the Yankees on top, 4-0. Ford fouled out and with Urshela at the plate Torres stole second. It was the Yankees’ fourth steal of the game but didn’t lead to a run because Mike Trout tracked down Urshela’s drive to deep center for the final out.
Trout opened the home fourth with a sharp single to center but was erased when Sanchez threw him out attempting to steal second on a 3-2 pitch to Justin Bour that was called a strike.
In a very small sample size Urshela is proving critics wrong about his reputation of being all glove and no bat.
Urshela homered with the bases empty in the third that upped the Yankees’ lead to 2-0 against Cahill. Urshela started the night hitting. 279 in 16 games which was 49 points above his career average.
After going 0-for-2 in the first and second innings with runners in scoring position the Yankees used Tyler Wade’s speed and DJ LeMahieu’ single to center to score the game’s first run in the third.
Wade opened with a single and stole second and third with LeMahieu at the plate. The hero of Wednesday night’s victory when he drove in three runs including the game-winner in the ninth, singled to center and scored Wade for a 1-0 lead.
A two-out walk to Sanchez moved LeMahieu to second but Tauchman grounded out and stranded two.