Yankees lose to the Angels

September 10, 2008 4:37:48 PM PDT
The Los Angeles Angels clinched at least a share of their fourth AL West title in five years, with Robb Quinlan hitting a two-run single Wednesday in a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees. Francisco Rodriguez earned his 56th save, moving within one of Bobby Thigpen's 18-year-old major league record.

The Angels were in position to become the first major league team to clinch a playoff berth this year, needing Texas to lose at Seattle later Wednesday.

The Angels earned part of the crown without starters Chone Figgins (injured), Mark Teixeira (ill) and Torii Hunter, who began serving a two-game suspension for helping trigger a bench-clearing scuffle with Yankees catcher Ivan Rodriguez on Monday.

Los Angeles will try to do something that none of its previous division-winning teams accomplished - reach the World Series. The Angels won their first and only World Series title as a wild-card team in 2002.

Perhaps, there might even be the first Freeway Series this year - the Dodgers lead the NL West.

Dustin Moseley (2-4) allowed two runs and three hits in five innings while making a spot start for Jered Weaver, whose injured fingers pushed his start back to Thursday. Moseley struck out six and walked three in winning for the first time since April 9 against Cleveland.

Rodriguez worked the ninth, throwing a called third strike past Hideki Matsui with runners at first and third to end the game.

Andy Pettitte (13-13) lost for the sixth time in his last nine starts. The left-hander gave up four runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings, tying his second-shortest outing of the season.

The Yankees finished 5-5 on their four-city trip, making it likely they'll miss the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. They head to New York for their final 10 games at Yankee Stadium, which will be replaced next season.

Leading 2-1, Pettitte nearly got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. After giving up consecutive singles to Gary Matthews Jr., Garret Anderson and Vladimir Guerrero, he retired Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales on called third strikes.

Facing a full count, Quinlan lined a single to left, scoring two runs. Guerrero continued home on Xavier Nady's throw that sailed over the head of third baseman Alex Rodriguez and into the netting for an error, allowing the Angels to take a 4-2 lead.

New York scored both of its runs in the first on Jason Giambi's RBI single and a balk by Moseley that allowed Bobby Abreu to score from third.

The Angels scored their first run on Rivera's RBI groundout in the first.

Notes: 1B Teixeira sat out because of an infection and a temperature. Figgins was not in the starting lineup for the second straight game because of a sore right elbow. He got hit by a pitch during Monday's game and manager Mike Scioscia said Figgins was having difficulty throwing and swinging the bat. ... Weaver (10-10) was announced as Thursday's starter against Seattle, with cuts on the right middle and ring fingers of his pitching hand having healed. "I'll throw everything," he said. "It just depends on how sharp everything is." ... The Angels reached 3 million in attendance, making them and the Yankees the only teams to do so in each of the last six seasons. ... Grammy-winning rapper-actor Ludacris was a pregame visitor to the Angels' clubhouse as Hunter's guest. They teamed up for a sports-related project on Ludacris' new Web site, WeMix.com. When Hunter returns from his suspension, he plans to walk out to a sports-themed song created by winners of the Web site's contest. ... Members of the Olympic gold-medal winning U.S. men's volleyball team were on the mound for the first pitch.