NEW YORK -- Once again, the hits came in a hurry for the Los Angeles Angels.
The AL West leaders took a familiar route, rushing to a 3-0 edge off Chien-Ming Wang before Escobar threw a pitch. They've now outscored opponents by an impressive 52-19 in first innings this season.
"You get your 1-2 guys on base, it's a recipe for a treacherous first inning," Matthews said.
Los Angeles won for the eighth time in 10 games and did it without manager Mike Scioscia, who was back in California for his son's high school graduation. Bench coach Ron Roenicke ran the team, and will do it again Sunday when the Angels go for the sweep.
The quick burst made it an easier afternoon for Roenicke.
"I can look at things a little differently," he said. "I can be more aggressive."
The Yankees lost for the sixth time in nine games. After Boston won Saturday night, the Yankees fell 11½ games back for first time since after play on Sept. 17, 1995
"As soon as you put this uniform on, there's pressure. I don't understand what more pressure is," manager Joe Torre said. "We certainly haven't played up to our expectations, and we're all accountable."
New York fans were restless from the get-go, and started booing after Matthews tripled and Casey Kotchman followed with an RBI single. Pitching coach Ron Guidry went to the mound at that point and Wang (3-4) settled down, but it was too late.
"I wasn't thinking about the lead, I was staying with the gameplan," Escobar said. "It definitely helps, though, with the lineup they have."
Escobar (6-2) struck out eight, getting many of them in key spots. He limited the Yankees to one run and six hits in seven innings.
"For some reason we have good results here," he said. "When you play in Yankee Stadium, you know the atmosphere and crowd is going to get to a different level."
Willits, who missed the previous two games because of a tight hamstring, began the game with a walk and moved up when Orlando Cabrera grounded out on a hit-and-run. Vladimir Guerrero singled and Matthews hit a drive up the alley in left-center.
Kotchman singled hard, and finished with three hits for the second day in a row.
The Angels threatened to break it open in the second after an intentional walk to Guerrero loaded the bases for Matthews with two outs. He hit a hard liner and Cabrera got turned around before recovering to make the catch.
"I really wanted that one," Matthews said.
Rodriguez led off the Yankees fourth with a single and scored on a single by Mientkiewicz.
Wang lasted eight innings and struck out a season-high six. Eager to get Mariano Rivera some work, the Yankees brought in their closer to pitch the ninth.
- Damon did not start because of cramps in both calves and a sore Achilles' tendon in his right leg. It is uncertain when he will start again.
- Derek Jeter's 19-game hitting streak came to an end for the Yankees.
- Orlando Cabrera's hitting streak stopped at 15 games for the Angels, matching a career high.