Gary Sanchez’s Homer Gives Yankees a 9th Straight Win
A towering home run by Gary Sanchez, a throwback pitching performance by C.C. Sabathia and some tense relief work by Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman were enough to carry the Yankees to a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday night at Angel Stadium.
It was the ninth consecutive victory for the surging Yankees, who will carry that momentum to Houston for a four-game series against the defending champion Astros — the first meeting between the teams since a riveting seven-game American League Championship Series last fall won by the Astros.
Sonny Gray will pitch for the Yankees in the opener on Monday night against Charlie Morton, who tossed five shutout innings against the Yankees in Game 7 of the A.L.C.S.
The Yankees’ victory on Sunday night completed their first sweep here since 2003. Their visits to Anaheim have often been fraught — the Angels have twice eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs, and their Rally Monkey used to spook the otherwise unflappable Derek Jeter.
The difference on Sunday was Sanchez’s 447-foot, two-run, fourth-inning homer off the left-hander Tyler Skaggs that cleared both bullpens and landed in the left-field bleachers. The home run followed a one-out double by Giancarlo Stanton.
It was the only issue the Yankees managed against Skaggs and three relievers. The Yankees had only two other hits — one of which was an infield single by Gleyber Torres down the third-base line that was snagged with a diving stop by Jeffrey Marte. A replay review showed that Marte’s throw to first was a split-second too late, and the out call was overturned.
By the end of the night, there were some signs of frustration from the Yankees hitters, as Stanton and Sanchez swung their bats in disgust after flying out and striking out, respectively. Aaron Judge struck out three times, bringing his total to 10 for the series against the Angels.
Sabathia, though he continued his strong start to the season with his deepest effort yet — allowing one run in seven innings — expressed his frustration with the strike zone of the home plate umpire Angel Hernandez. He yelled at Hernandez while leaving in the mound in the fourth inning and had to be restrained by shortstop Didi Gregorius.
Gregorius created more work for Sabathia with a rare rough night in the field. He threw away a routine grounder by Mike Trout in the third and fell down when he fielded a slow grounder by Albert Pujols in the seventh. But Sabathia worked around those mistakes — and another jam in the sixth when the Angels scored their only run on a pitch that bounced well in front of the plate and past Sanchez, allowing Upton to race home. It was the fifth time in their current streak that the Yankees held an opponent to one run.
Green relieved Sabathia and escaped trouble of his own, striking out Zack Cozart with runners at first and second to end the eight. Chapman struck out Ian Kinsler in a tense seven-pitch at-bat with the tying run at second and Trout in the on-deck circle to end the game.