Angels throw away another against Yankees
Maicer Izturis' throw zipped by second base, the ball careening out of control like a wet bar of soap, and headed toward somewhere near third. Chone Figgins fumbled it as the winning run scored. Typical for the Los Angeles Angels in this AL championship series gone awry. Something was fundamentally wrong on this trip to New York for this fundamentally sound team. "I think if I let my hair grow out," center fielder Torii Hunter said, "I think I would have grays everywhere." When Figgins finally got a hit, Brian Fuentes couldn't put the New York Yankees away. Erick Aybar played defense again as if the ball was toxic. Now the Angels are down two games in the best-of-seven AL championship series following Saturday night's excruciating 4-3, 13-inning loss. Another night, another defeat. Six in a row in the ALCS. At least now the slumping Angels get to head back West, where maybe a dramatic change in the weather can help them get back on track. "I got this feeling, man," Hunter said confidently. "We go home, it's going to be a different scene. Definitely. They can't play much worse. Figgins and Bobby Abreu, the top two hitters in the batting order, were a combined 1 for 16 in the first two games. Figgins was 0 for 18 in this year's playoffs before his RBI single in the 11th gave Los Angeles a 3-2 lead. Los Angeles went 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position. The Angels stranded 16 - count 'em! - 16 runners. A team that made just 85 errors during the regular season made five in two games. Were these the Angels or the Pirates? "We did a lot of good things out there on that ballfield tonight," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Unfortunately, one of them wasn't hitting with runners in scoring position. And that's eventually what hurt us." Given a one-run lead, Fuentes promptly threw an 0-2 fastball that Alex Rodriguez drove over the right-field wall for a leadoff homer. "I was trying to elevate the ball on him," Fuentes said. "Obviously it wasn't up enough." Then in the 13th, with runners at first and second and one out, Izturis picked up Melky Cabrera's grounder and threw across his body, trying for a force at second. The ball went into no man's land. "I'm not scared to be aggressive," Izturis said. "Unfortunately it cost us the game." Figgins was in position to retrieve the ball and hold Jerry Hairston Jr. on third base. That didn't work out, either. "It hit my glove and kind of kicked off," Figgins said. "It's one of those crazy things, that I was backing up but the ball slipped out of my hands." Los Angeles' offense has gone awry, too. Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero, the Nos. 3 and 4 batters, have no RBIs in the ALCS. But at least for the next three games - if it gets that far - no more chilled nights with ski hats, hoodies and gloves more suited to slopes than shortstop. Instead of bundling up in midtown Manhattan, heading out of the hotel and boarding the bus, put on the flip-flops, get in the convertible and hit the road for the drive to the Big A. Maybe different coast, different strokes. "We've got a six-hour plan ride to regroup," Fuentes said. "We have another 24 hours after that." At least it figures to be dry.