A-Rod 4 hits, moves up career lists as Yanks hold off Angels
NEW YORK (AP) Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees kept piling up big numbers, putting the game further and further out of reach with every swing.
Or so it seemed.
Rodriguez moved past Barry Bonds for second place on the career RBIs list and got four hits Friday night as the Yankees built a huge lead, then scrambled to hold off the Los Angeles Angels 8-7 for their fourth straight victory.
''It got a little too dicey,'' Rodriguez said. ''I still have a headache.''
Both teams made multiple substitutions late, and the Angels trailed 8-1 going into the ninth inning. They rallied for six runs with the help of a routine popup that dropped between two infielders for a single - their first eight batters reached base against Esmil Rogers and Dellin Betances.
''Crazy game, for sure,'' Betances said. ''I was beating myself up on the mound.''
The Angels still had the bases loaded with no outs, down 8-6. Betances, nicked for an earned run for the first time this season, retired the next three batters for his second save.
Shortstop Didi Gregorius overcame an earlier error by stopping Johnny Giavotella's hard grounder in the hole for the second out. Betances struck out pinch-hitter Carlos Perez with runners at the corners to end it, sending Los Angeles to its third loss in a row.
''Oh man, our bench was alive,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''That ninth inning was fun and, unfortunately, we just couldn't push it across a little more.''
Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi: ''That would've been a really hard game to swallow if you lose.''
Light-hitting Stephen Drew homered twice and Mark Teixeira connected early as the Yankees took advantage of their ballpark's short porch in right field and Jered Weaver's soft tosses.
Rodriguez singled for his 1,997th RBI and trails only Hank Aaron (2,297) on the chart kept by the Elias Sports Bureau, baseball's official record keeper. The RBI didn't become an official stat until 1920 and that cost Babe Ruth, credited with over 2,200 on other tallies.
A-Rod scored his 1,950th run, breaking a tie with Stan Musial for eighth place. Rodriguez has 2,991 career hits, and had his first four-hit game since 2011. He missed all of last year season while serving a drug suspension.
''Just means I'm getting older every day,'' said Rodriguez, who turns 40 next month. ''I think I'm in a good place.''
Nathan Eovaldi (5-1) left with a 4-0 lead after walking the bases loaded with one out in the sixth inning.
Weaver (4-5) exited after his final pitch, an 82 mph fastball, was put into the seats by Drew for a solo shot with two outs in the sixth for a 7-1 lead. That was among 14 pitches in the inning that Weaver didn't throw faster than 83 mph.
Drew also hit a two-run drive in the second for his third career multihomer game and first since 2013. He began the day batting .165.
A three-time All-Star, Weaver had won his previous four decisions. He fell to 1-3 with an 8.71 ERA in five starts at the ballpark.
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker will be in the bullpen this weekend, but there aren't any injury concerns. The Angels have a couple of off-days, and Scioscia wants to keep his other starters fresh.
Yankees: C Brian McCann, bothered recently by an arch problem, started and doubled. ... RHP Michael Pineda will skip a start and next pitch Friday night at Baltimore. Girardi said there aren't any health concerns with Pineda, who has been injury plagued in his career. Instead, the team wants to limit his innings. ... OF Carlos Beltran has a sore foot, and could start Saturday.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards (5-3, 3.26) is 0-2 in four career games vs. the Yankees going into Saturday night's start.
Yankees: RHP Adam Warren (3-4, 3.75) has pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning in his last two starts.
NASA astronaut Joe Acaba threw the ceremonial first ball. Acaba, who grew up in Anaheim, California, once called the Angels from the International Space Station. He took some players and staff on a NASA tour in April when the club was in Houston. Acaba remembered rooting for Nolan Ryan, Gary DiSarcina and others as a kid. ''Going to the Big A, we've had a lot of good teams,'' he said.
Girardi was given an Alabama football helmet during batting practice by Jeff Purinton, an associate athletics director at the school. Girardi has spoken to the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, watched the team play in person and is eager to see another game. ''When is LSU?'' he asked.