Wright had another sweet but relatively short start Saturday, overcoming early wildness and riding second-inning home runs by Robinson Cano and Johnny Damon in the New York Yankees' 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
"He was kind of all over the place," Damon said, "and he kind of really figured it out."
Wright (9-6) walked four for the second straight start but allowed one run for his third outing in a row. He fell behind on Juan Rivera's RBI single in the first, then allowed just one other hit before Scott Proctor relieved with one out in the sixth.
"We're sort of used to it," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He doesn't crack. He keeps his senses about him."
While Wright won just four of his first 13 starts, he is 5-1 in seven starts since. However, he does tax New York's bullpen -- Wright hasn't pitched more than six innings this year and has thrown 100 pitches in just one start.
After Chone Figgins took his first pitch of the day for a strike, Wright threw seven straight balls. His inconsistency makes it hard to evaluate his performance.
"It depends on what you're looking at, I guess," Wright said. "The ultimate goal is to keep the game close, and then hopefully you can get a win. But if you look at walking Figgins to lead off the game, that's an F."
Wright left one out after Maicer Izturis' comebacker bounced off the pitcher's glove. Wright threw to first and umpire Mark Hudson called Izturis out -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia argued, and replays appeared to show Izturis beat the throw.
Wright had to throw the ball at an "awkward angle," and Torre said he took him out as a precaution because "he did look a little funky there." In addition, catcher Jorge Posada noticed the pitcher reaching for his back.
"Any time you can get five innings out of someone and give up one run or no runs, that's golden, really, in today's baseball," Torre said. "When you realize how many pitchers it takes you to get through the last three innings, if you can get one guy to get you through the first five, you're all right."
Proctor allowed Jose Molina's seventh-inning sacrifice fly and Kyle Farnsworth pitched the eighth -- his final pitch was 101 mph, according to the scoreboard.
Mariano Rivera finished the four-hitter for his 30th save in 33 chances, keeping New York two games ahead of second-place Boston in the AL East. He has reached 30 saves in four straight seasons and nine of the last 10.
Alex Rodriguez made his 20th error of the season, the most among major league third basemen, letting Orlando Cabrera's sixth-inning grounder get by him. Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and raised his average to .287, the highest it's been since mid-July. Both hits were opposite-field drives to right.
"I haven't been able to do that all year. I've been beating my head from frustration because I haven't been able to do it," Rodriguez said. "For the last 20 days or so, I felt a lot more like myself."
Kelvim Escobar (8-10) had been 3-0 in his previous six starts but lost for the first time since June 25, giving up five runs and eight hits in six innings. He walked Rodriguez leading off the second, gave up a single to Jason Giambi and allowed a one-out, three-run homer to Cano.
"I never really throw a slider to lefties. I don't know what I was trying to do there," Escobar said. "I tried something different, and it didn't work."
Cano is batting .474 (9-for-19) with two homers since returning from a six-week layoff caused by a hamstring injury.
"He's fresh as a 10-year-old kid," Rodriguez said. "He has that energy we need at this point of the year."
Bernie Williams then singled and, with two outs and a 2-0 count, Damon connected on a 95 mph fastball. Damon had been 7-for-48 (.146) with no homers against Escobar.
"I fell behind Johnny and I tried to get a strike," Escobar said. "I didn't execute a good pitch."
Los Angeles had four steals but Vladimir Guerrero was thrown out at third base by right fielder Bobby Abreu on Rivera's two-out single in the first and, with runners on second and third in the sixth, Guerrero was picked off second by catcher Jorge Posada for the final out of the inning.
"It's easy to sit back after the game and say that these plays didn't help us," Scioscia said. "The vast majority of the time, being aggressive works out for us."
- Garret Anderson, originally in the Angels' lineup, was scratched because of back spasms.
- Derek Jeter was 0-for-4 and has four hits in his last 18 at-bats.