Escobar, Angels look listless early in 6-3 loss to Yankees
NEW YORK (AP) Whether he forgot how many outs there were or not, Yunel Escobar was in no mood to talk about it.
On a night when Escobar and the Angels looked listless in the early innings, fill-in starter David Huff fell behind quickly and Los Angeles never recovered in a 6-3 loss Tuesday to the New York Yankees.
Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer on the ninth pitch from Huff, who followed by giving up consecutive one-out singles. Chase Headley then hit a bouncer to third, where Escobar fielded the ball but didn't look toward second base. Rather than try for a double play, he simply jogged to third and stepped on the bag for a force out.
''He was only going to get one out on the ball,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''That ball was kind of chopped. He took the out at third base.''
Escobar declined to answer questions from reporters after the game but had some heated words for one during their conversation in Spanish.
The play came one night after Escobar didn't run hard out of the batter's box on a sharp grounder and was an easy out at first base. Scioscia never looked at Escobar when he returned to the bench and acknowledged a day later he thought Escobar ''gave up on that one a little early'' and could have run harder.
Scioscia said Escobar plays hard, but doesn't get out of the box well.
Beltran and Starlin Castro homered for the second consecutive game Tuesday to back a resurgent Michael Pineda. Alex Rodriguez and Austin Romine each had an RBI single for New York, which has won seven in a row against the Angels at home.
Los Angeles has dropped 13 of its last 16 at Yankee Stadium.
Pineda (3-6) tossed seven efficient innings in his longest start since July 4 last year at Tampa Bay. He gave up three runs and four hits, building on a solid performance last week in Detroit after struggling for much of the season.
''He was good. He was mixing his pitches well. He threw a hard slider that kind of kept us off balance and kept the ball down, so that's always a recipe for success, usually,'' Angels designated hitter C.J. Cron said.
Pineda's only rough inning was the fifth, when Gregorio Petit hit an RBI single and Kole Calhoun connected for a two-run homer to the short porch in right field. After that, Pineda retired his final seven batters and was still throwing 97 mph in the seventh.
With his past two outings, the enigmatic right-hander has quieted talk about him losing his spot in the rotation and perhaps getting sent to the minors.
''When push came to shove he threw some good sliders and got out of some jams. He had good velocity,'' Scioscia said. ''When he needed to, he turned it up.''
Dellin Betances struck out two in a perfect eighth after giving up runs in a career-worst four straight appearances. Andrew Miller worked a one-hit ninth for his seventh save.
The 39-year-old Beltran homered in the first for his 1,000th career extra-base hit. His three-run shot snapped an eighth-inning tie Monday night and powered New York to a 5-2 victory in the series opener.
Castro, who hit a tying homer in the seventh Monday, sliced an opposite-field drive off the right-field foul pole in the third.
Aaron Hicks doubled in the second and scored on Rob Refsnyder's sacrifice fly.
Pitching in place of injured Nick Tropeano, Huff (0-1) allowed five runs and eight hits over 3 2/3 innings in his first major league outing since June 3, 2015. The 31-year-old lefty appeared in 41 games with the Yankees from 2013-14.
''It was tough those first two innings,'' Huff said. ''I think trying to get settled in was my biggest problem.''
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Tim Lincecum, who signed with the Angels last month, threw 95 pitches in his second start for Triple-A Salt Lake, against Reno. The two-time Cy Young Award winner with the Giants gave up four runs, two earned, and three hits over five innings. He struck out six and walked two. Lincecum appears on track to make his Los Angeles debut Sunday at home against Cleveland, but Scioscia said a decision will come in the next day or two. The 31-year-old right-hander is returning from hip surgery last September.
Angels SS Andrelton Simmons was scheduled to play his second rehab game with Class A Inland Empire. He had two hits Monday and is expected to come off the disabled list this weekend. Simmons has been out since May 9 after having thumb surgery.
Soft tosser Jered Weaver (5-4, 5.18 ERA) pitches for the Angels on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium against RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-2, 4.09), one of the hardest-throwing starters in the majors. Weaver is 7-5 with a 5.83 ERA in 15 regular-season starts vs. New York, including 1-3 with an 8.71 ERA in five games at the current Yankee Stadium. Eovaldi is 6-0 with a 3.35 ERA in his last eight starts.