By Pete Zarustica
There’s something about the New York Yankees that seems to bring out the best in the Los Angeles Angels. The symbolic diamond struggle between the nation’s two largest metropolitan areas was won Wednesday in Anaheim by the margin of 7-5.
That margin was provided by Andrelton Simmons, whose seventh inning two-run home run lifted the Halos to a 35-34 record and kept them in second place in the American League West, 11 games back of the Houston Astros. In the AL wild card race, they’re a half-game out.
“I’m happy for me and my team that we came back from that early deficit,” Simmons said. “The bullpen kept us in the game, and we put up good at-bats. I’m just glad I got to get the team a go-ahead home run.”
The Angels had to overcome a 4-0 first inning Yankee lead, but kept chipping away and went ahead 5-4 after three. The Yanks tied it in the sixth, setting up Simmons’ key blow, which allowed the Halos to take two of three from the AL East leader.
However, the night was not all celebration, as starter Matt Shoemaker left the game with an arm injury. He had an uncharacteristically bad performance, giving up six hits and four runs in three innings. He walked one batter and struck out two.
The Angels collected 12 hits (to 14 for the Yanks). Three batters had two hits – Simmons, Albert Pujols, Cameron Maybin and Eric Young Jr. Danny Espinosa added a two-run home run in the sixth.
The Halos committed two errors but got some defensives gems, too, including Young’s diving catch in the top of the seventh of a drive by Aaron Judge.
Next up for the Angels will be a series with the Kansas City Royals (30-34) starting Thursday. Ricky Nolasco (2-7) will make the start for the home team at the Big A.