April 26, 2014

NEW YORK -- The last two times the New York Yankees completed four-game sweeps of the Los Angeles Angels, they did so dramatically.

On July 24, 1994, the Yankees completed a four-game sweep in Anaheim with a four-run ninth, highlighted by Don Mattingly's three-run home run. On July 25, 1993 in New York, the Yankees completed a four-game sweep by rallying from an eight-run deficit and getting a ninth-inning single by Pat Kelly.

It might not be as dramatic as those games, but not only will the Yankees be going for the sweep Thursday, it will be a chance for New York to return to the .500 mark.

The last time was May 24 when New York reached 22-22 with a 6-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. After getting to the break-even point, the Yankees dropped eight of their next 12 games as they scored 38 runs, batted .234 and had a 4.59 ERA in those games.

And perhaps nobody has put the Yankees in better position to match the feats of the 1994 and 1993 editions against the Angels than Carlos Beltran. The veteran switch-hitter has produced eight of New York's 23 runs against the Angels.

"We just need to go out there and continue to find a way to score early and find a way to continue to put pressure on the opposing teams," Beltran said.

He had a tiebreaking three-run homer Monday, a two-run shot in the first inning Tuesday before following those up with a tiebreaking double and a two-run homer in Wednesday's 12-6 victory.

Over his last 19 games, Beltran is batting .352 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs.

"He's been so big for this offense," manager Joe Girardi said. "Just big hit after big hit after big hit. He's solidified our third spot in the order, he's done a great job."

The Yankees on Thursday turn to Ivan Nova (4-3, 4.41 ERA) for his seventh start.

Nova has a 3.43 ERA as a starting pitcher and has allowed one run or fewer in three starts. He last pitched during Saturday's 7-6 victory in Baltimore when he took a shutout into the sixth and allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings.

The Angels have lost eight straight in New York and 14 of their last 17 visits here. After Matt Shoemaker, David Huff and Jered Weaver were unable to get wins, Jhoulys Chacin makes his sixth start since being obtained from the Atlanta Braves on May 11.

Besides hoping to get a win from Chacin, the Angels will be hoping for better bullpen results. After Weaver allowed six runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings Wednesday, four relievers combined to allowed six runs and eight hits.

"It's not jarring but if we're going to get this thing going in the right direction, we talked about what our what our starters need to do and getting our bullpen in order, and right now, we're in a little bit of a flux down there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Chacin is 1-1 with a 3.73 with the Angels and did not get a decision Saturday in Pittsburgh when he allowed three runs and six hits in five innings.

The right-hander is one of nine starters used by the Angels, but they could be getting some more depth shortly.

Right-hander Tim Lincecum pitched five innings for Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday as he returns from September hip surgery and will make another start there Sunday before possibly joining the Angels. Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (shoulder) pitched five innings in extended spring training in Arizona on Wednesday and will get another extended spring training start before moving to a rehab assignment.

Additionally, C.J. Wilson began a throwing program Tuesday but does not have a timetable for his return.

"Anytime we can re-establish starting pitching depth, it's a great feeling," Scioscia said.

But the best feeling the Angels can have Thursday is getting a victory in New York.

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