Anaheim at New York

W: S. Shields (1-0) L: A. Small (0-1)
HR: ANA - G. Anderson (1), B. Molina (3)   NYY - H. Matsui (1), D. Jeter (1)

Angels knock around Big Unit, take 2-1 series lead

CBS wire reports

NEW YORK -- The Big Unit was a big bust when the Yankees needed him most, and Chone Figgins' clutch plays pushed the Los Angeles Angels within one win of the AL Championship Series.

Figgins made another sparkling grab on defense and hit a tiebreaking single, and Garret Anderson had four hits and five RBI to lead the Angels over the New York Yankees 11-7 Friday night for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-5 playoff series.

The Angels, who roughed up Randy Johnson and set their postseason record with 19 hits, recovered after wasting a five-run lead. They can close out the series Saturday and earn a spot against the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS. Los Angeles lefty Jarrod Washburn is scheduled to face New York's Shawn Chacon in Game 4.

"Our team has always been able to come back against any team," Bengie Molina said. "That's just the kind of team we are."

Molina homered -- in the third inning -- for the third consecutive game and Anderson hit a first-inning, three-run shot through the raindrops as Los Angeles eventually led 5-0 and chased Johnson in the fourth. His playoff debut for the Yankees lasted only three-plus innings, the shortest of his 15 postseason starts.

"I pitch and my teammates expect us to win and for me to put us in a position to win, and I didn't do that," Johnson said. "My slider found too much of the middle of the plate. I didn't have a sharp one going down and away. Unfortunately my pitches were elevated today and I paid the price."

Sparked by Hideki Matsui's leadoff homer in the fourth, New York came back against Paul Byrd and the Angels' bullpen to go ahead 6-5 in the fifth only to quickly fall behind again as Aaron Small and Tom Gordon failed to come through.

New York, with a record payroll of $203 million, must win two consecutive games in order to continue its quest for its first World Series title since 2000. If the Yankees fail, owner George Steinbrenner could order a shake up.

"If you don't make quality pitches you can't expect good results," manager Joe Torre said. "We didn't pitch very well."

Small, 10-0 during the regular season, entered with runners at the corners in the fourth and induced a strikeout and double-play grounder, then threw a 1-2-3 fifth. But he wound up losing for the first time since New York brought him up in mid-July.

Darin Erstad and Figgins, who had been 0-for-11 in the series, had run-scoring hits for a 7-6 lead. Figgins saved two runs when he made a diving catch of Gary Sheffield's sinking liner to center for the final out of the fourth, especially impressive given the wet field.

"It's almost like you're running in a marsh or a swamp," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

The versatile Figgins also made a key play in Game 2, when he robbed Matsui with a diving grab at third base. His defense was extremely important again Friday night.

"I just had to take a chance, kill their momentum," Figgins said.

Anderson added a run-scoring single in the seventh off Gordon after Molina was hit on the left elbow by a pitch and forced from the game. Molina at first thought the elbow was broken, but X-rays were negative.

Steve Finley squeezed in an unearned run following an error by second baseman Robinson Cano, who came off the bag too soon when taking third baseman Alex Rodriguez's soft throw on a grounder, and Jose Molina and Anderson singled home runs in the eighth off Scott Proctor.

Scot Shields struck out four in two innings for the win, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the sixth when Cano flied out.

Kelvim Escobar allowed Derek Jeter's leadoff homer in the eighth, and Francisco Rodriguez finished a game that lasted exactly four hours.

While rain was in the forecast and fell intermittently, the game was never halted. But a downpour started 20 minutes after the final out, and more wet weather is expected Saturday.

Johnson was 6-0 over his prior eight starts since Aug. 21 but left numerous pitches up and quickly was in trouble.

Anderson had been 3-for-18 against the 42-year-old left-hander, who gave up career-high 32 homers during the regular season but just one to a left-handed hitter, Toronto's Eric Hinske on April 29. Johnson had held lefties to an .074 average (4-for-54) with one extra-base hit since July 26 before Anderson reached down and drove a 1-1 pitch into the right-field bleachers.

Los Angeles made it 5-0 in the third on the two-run homer by Bengie Molina. Johnson stood in front of the mound, hands on hips, and a few moments later fans in the right-field bleachers began chanting: " Aaron Small," hoping a reliever would be brought in. An inning later, their wish was granted.

Johnson gave up consecutive hits to open the fourth, and that was enough for Torre, who pulled his ace after 62 pitches. The crowd of 56,277 booed loudly -- Johnson had said Thursday that Diamondbacks' fans in Arizona made more noise during his starts than the Yankees supporters.

During the pitching change, rain briefly started to fall more heavily, prompting the crowd to cheer. Small struck out Kennedy and induced the speedy Figgins to ground into a double play, with Cano going to his knees for a backhand stop at second and making a nifty underhand flip to Jeter.

After Matsui's homer, Jorge Posada's RBI grounder and Jeter's run-scoring chased Byrd. Jason Giambi's run-scoring single off Brendan Donnelly went through the shortstop hole vacated by the overshifted infield.

Cano's RBI double and Bernie Williams' sacrifice fly put the Yankees ahead in the fifth.


  • The Yankees left Game 1 winner Mike Mussina behind in California to pitch a possible Game 5, scheduled for Sunday in Anaheim. Barring a rainout Saturday, Bartolo Colon would pitch Game 5 for the Angels.
  • The series has followed the pattern of the 2002 matchup, when the Angels lost the opener before winning three in a row.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Francisco Rodriguez pumps his fist after recording the final out as the Angels grab a 2-1 ALDS lead.
Francisco Rodriguez pumps his fist after recording the final out as the Angels grab a 2-1 ALDS lead. (AP)

Players of the Game

G. Anderson
AB 5
R 1
H 4
HR 1
New York

D. Jeter
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

April 21, 2017
Stock Up: Chase Headley (0:59)
Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, CF-3B6121013 .143
Orlando Cabrera, SS5110003 .231
Vladimir Guerrero, RF4320101 .300
Bengie Molina, C3222000 .455
    Jose Molina, PR-C11110001.000
Garret Anderson, LF5145000 .308
Juan Rivera, DH5110023 .455
Darin Erstad, 1B5131013 .385
Robb Quinlan, 3B2010000 .500
   a- Steve Finley, PH-CF2001012 .143
Adam Kennedy, 2B5020015 .300
a-struck out for Quinlan in the 6th
2B - Orlando Cabrera (1, R. Johnson), Juan Rivera (1, Small), Darin Erstad (1, R. Johnson)
3B - Chone Figgins (1, Leiter), Garret Anderson (1, R. Johnson)
HR - Bengie Molina (3, R. Johnson), Garret Anderson (1, R. Johnson)
SH - Steve Finley (2)
RBI - Chone Figgins (1), Bengie Molina 2 (5), Jose Molina (1), Garret Anderson 5 (5), Darin Erstad (2), Steve Finley (1)
2-OUT RBI - Chone Figgins (1), Bengie Molina 2 (3), Garret Anderson 3 (3)
CS - Adam Kennedy (2, 2nd base by R. Johnson/Flaherty)
Team LOB - 8
E - Orlando Cabrera (1, throwing error)
Los Angeles Angels
Paul Byrd 3.2744221 9.82
Brendan Donnelly 0.1221100 27.00
Scot Shields (W,1-0) 2100240 0.00
Kelvim Escobar (H,1) 2111021 2.25
Francisco Rodriguez 1100010 4.50
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Byrd 77-51, Brendan Donnelly 14-8, Scot Shields 36-20, Kelvim Escobar 26-16, Francisco Rodriguez 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Byrd 6-3, Kelvim Escobar 3-1, Francisco Rodriguez 1-1
Batters Faced - Paul Byrd 20, Brendan Donnelly 4, Scot Shields 9, Kelvim Escobar 7, Francisco Rodriguez 4
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS5222021 .308
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4020111 .222
Jason Giambi, DH5021012 .417
Gary Sheffield, RF4000115 .167
Hideki Matsui, LF3221200 .364
Robinson Cano, 2B5221004 .308
Bernie Williams, CF4121001 .333
Tino Martinez, 1B4000011 .000
   a- Ruben Sierra, PH1000011 .000
John Flaherty, C0000100 .000
   b- Jorge Posada, PH-C3001020 .200
a-struck out for T. Martinez in the 9th
b-grounded out for Flaherty in the 4th
2B - Alex Rodriguez (1, Byrd), Robinson Cano (3, Donnelly)
HR - Derek Jeter (1, Escobar), Hideki Matsui (1, Byrd)
SF - Bernie Williams (1)
RBI - Derek Jeter 2 (2), Jason Giambi (2), Hideki Matsui (1), Robinson Cano (5), Bernie Williams (1), Jorge Posada (2)
2-OUT RBI - Derek Jeter (1), Jason Giambi (2)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Cano-Jeter-T. Martinez, Cano
E - Robinson Cano (2, missed catch), Gary Sheffield (1, throwing error)
New York Yankees
Randy Johnson 3955022 15.00
Aaron Small (L,0-1) 2.2422020 6.75
Tanyon Sturtze 0.1000000 13.50
Tom Gordon0221000 6.75
Al Leiter 1.1122110 9.00
Scott Proctor 1.2300010 0.00
IBB - Guerrero by Al Leiter
HBP - Molina (by Tom Gordon)
WP - Scott Proctor (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Johnson 62-44, Aaron Small 35-26, Tanyon Sturtze 1-1, Tom Gordon 12-7, Al Leiter 23-11, Scott Proctor 23-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Johnson 2-4, Aaron Small 3-2, Tom Gordon 1-0, Al Leiter 1-2, Scott Proctor 1-2
Batters Faced - Randy Johnson 17, Aaron Small 11, Tanyon Sturtze 1, Tom Gordon 4, Al Leiter 6, Scott Proctor 7
Game Information
Attendance - 56277
Game Time - 4:00
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Jim Reynolds