ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Vladimir Guerrero has only two hits in the Los Angeles Angels' last three games against the New York Yankees -- booming hits.
Two nights earlier, Guerrero's grand slam in the seventh brought Los Angeles from behind in a 6-5 victory.
"Even when he's struggling, he's not slumping," said Los Angeles teammate Darin Erstad, who had three hits Saturday. "He has that ability to get it done."
After Guerrero drove Kevin Brown's pitch over the center-field fence to give Los Angeles a 4-3 lead in the third inning, the Angels added four more runs to chase Brown in the fourth.
"I don't know if it was that bad a pitch, but he's a really good hitter and he hit that ball a long way," Brown said of Guerrero's shot. "I didn't want to go out there and pitch like that. I didn't give the team a chance."
Jason Giambi hit a two-run homer -- his 16th of the season and 11th in 16 games -- off Esteban Yan in the seventh inning to bring New York within 8-6. But Scot Shields pitched a scoreless eighth and Francisco Rodriguez set the Yankees down in order in the ninth for his 24th save in 26 chances -- and third in three nights.
The AL West-leading Angels won for the fifth time in six games this season against the Yankees, who fell 2½ games behind Boston in the AL East.
Rookie Ervin Santana (5-4) went five innings and allowed four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits. Included were consecutive homers by Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano leading off the third inning as New York built a 3-1 lead.
Brown (4-7) lasted only 3 1/3 innings in his second rocky start since coming off the disabled list earlier in the week. The 40-year-old right-hander gave up seven runs on six hits and four walks against the Angels in his shortest stint in 13 starts this season.
He allowed six runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings of New York's 11-10 comeback victory at Texas on Monday night after being activated earlier that day.
Before the game, Yankees manager Joe Torre said he rushed Brown back because of an injury to Chien-Ming Wang, adding that seemed his only choice.
"It's not so much being rushed back, it was just the circumstances, and I know what they were," Brown said. "They asked me if I felt like I could try and throw, and I told them I was willing to try.
"No one has a crystal ball. I knew it was going to be a roll of the dice. We had a situation where the team was asking if I could do it, so what are you going to do? The team was in a tight spot. I felt like I had a chance to do it."
The injury-prone Brown had missed 26 games with a strained lower back, his second time on the DL this year and ninth since the start of the 2000 season.
Asked if he believed it would be better to take time off rather than try to work through the injury, Brown said: "That's a question I think is going to be a combination of what's best for the team and what is best for me ultimately, too.
"I've probably got about the least to lose as anybody. It's a situation where I'm old and I'm not going to destroy my career if I rush back out there too early. It's not like a guy who's 25 years old and doing that and risking 10 years or whatever of his career. So that was part of the decision. I was willing to risk it and give it a shot."
Jeter, who came into the game in a 4-for-35 slump, had four hits, including his 11th home run. Cano's homer was his eighth.
Guerrero hit his 18th homer after Brown walked Adam Kennedy and Chone Figgins to open the third inning, then retired Darin Erstad on a fly to center.
The Angels opened an 8-3 lead in the fourth after Brown again walked the leadoff batter, this time Jeff DaVanon. Orlando Cabrera struck out, but Kennedy singled, Figgins chased Brown with an RBI double, then Erstad greeted Alex Graman with a two-run double. Steve Finley's RBI single capped the inning.
Giambi's homer snapped a 30-inning scoreless streak by the Angels' bullpen. ... New York OF/DH Ruben Sierra, on the DL since July 19 because of a strained left hamstring, took 40 swings on Saturday. ... The Angels signed RHP Trevor Bell, an 18-year-old they took with their first choice (37th overall) in this year's free agent amateur draft, to a minor league contract. Bell was 8-3 with a 1.13 ERA and two saves in 16 games for Crescenta Valley (Calif.) High this year. ... Cano's homer extended his hitting streak to 12 games, tying Hideki Matsui for the Yankees' longest this season.