Angels on Brink of Elimination After 10-1 Loss
By Beth Harris, AP
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A shaky outing by Scott Kazmir. More bad defense. Few clutch hits.
The Los Angeles Angels are running out of chances to turn things around in this AL championship series.
With a 10-1 rout Tuesday night, the New York Yankees took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven set. On the brink of elimination, the Angels must win three straight to reach the World Series.
"It seems like it's impossible, but it's not," said Torii Hunter, who was 0 for 3 with a strikeout and a walk. "We've won three in a row before during the season. I know it's the postseason, but it can be done."
Game 5 is Thursday night in Anaheim, with ace John Lackey set to start for the Angels against A.J. Burnett.
"We got beat pretty badly. It was one loss. That's it," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think we've had a lead early in the ballgame yet this series. If we can start to play that type of game, this can change in a hurry."
This isn't the way things were supposed to go for the team that swept Boston in the first round of the playoffs and had been a longtime nemesis for the Yankees.
After two consecutive extra-inning games taut with suspense, the Yankees enjoyed a rout, highlighted by two-run homers from Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon.
Kazmir, acquired in late August in a trade with Tampa Bay, and catcher Mike Napoli didn't always appear to be in sync.
"There were some things they were working through," Scioscia said. "I don't know if it was anything that was really significant or affected what was going on out there with Kaz."
Kazmir matched zeros with CC Sabathia through the first three innings before the Yankees got to the left-hander in the fourth, when they took a 3-0 lead.
"I wasn't really getting ahead of hitters," Kazmir said. "I just wasn't really attacking the strike zone the way that I wanted to. With this team you can't do that."
Second baseman Howie Kendrick, who had three hits in the Angels' 5-4, 11-inning comeback win a night earlier, couldn't prevent New York's first run.
He fielded a grounder by Robinson Cano and made a high throw to the plate that kept Napoli from applying the tag in time. Melky Cabrera then hit a two-run single, scoring Nick Swisher, who walked.
Kazmir allowed four runs, six hits and four walks on 89 pitches in four-plus innings. He had three strikeouts, including two against ex-Angel Mark Teixeira.
"His command wasn't really what it needed to be," Scioscia said. "That eventually is what caught up with him. He threw a lot of pitches to get to where he was in the game. He was a pitch behind a lot."
The fifth inning was no better for the Angels, who had two blown calls go against them although neither led to a run.
"It doesn't matter," Chone Figgins said. "We had a bunch of chances and we didn't capitalize on them."
Loud and lusty booing rang out from most of the sellout crowd of 45,160, voicing frustrations on a night when nothing went the Angels' way.
Fans hitting the exits after the eighth inning likely didn't see right fielder Bobby Abreu overthrow third base trying to get Rodriguez as he tagged up from second. The ball sailed past Figgins for an error, and Rodriguez trotted home with the Yankees' eighth run.
"The best part about it is that we're going to fight until the end," Figgins said. "I'm pretty sure they know that very well because they didn't let us get back in this game, so they know we're going to come out fighting Thursday."
Received 10/21/09 01:18 am ET