Alex Rodriguez had two hits on Sunday afternoon.
He just didn’t get the big one.
Rodriguez homered in the first inning and singled in the third, but he popped out to first with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, and the Yankees came up short in a 10-8 loss to the Angels at Yankee Stadium.
“It’s an awesome situation. It’s exactly what you want,” Rodriguez said. “I put a good swing on it and just popped it up.”
In the first, A-Rod took Jered Weaver deep to right for his 14th homer of the season -- and 643rd of his career. It was his first homer since June 26 vs. Cleveland, snapping a 49 at-bat stretch without one.
Rodriguez singled to center in his next at-bat, but struck out in the sixth, flew out to right in the eighth and failed to deliver with the game on the line.
“You think he’s gonna get a big hit there,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He had some good swings today, too.”
He wasn’t the only one. Curtis Granderson, Eric Chavez and Mark Teixeira also homered.
The Yankees trailed 10-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth, but Teixeira’s two-run shot off L.A. closer Ernesto Frieri got their rally started. They were the first runs allowed by Frieri since he joined the Angels on May 3 (26 1/3 scoreless innings).
Nick Swisher followed with a walk, prompting Angels skipper Mike Scioscia to pull Frieri and insert Scott Downs. Raul Ibanez followed with a single, bringing the tying run to the plate. Then Andruw Jones struck out and Russell Martin grounded into a fielder’s choice. But Derek Jeter walked to load the bases, and Granderson gutted through an eight-pitch at-bat against Downs to draw a walk and bring the Yankees within two.
Granderson nearly gave the team a walk-off win during the AB, but lined a ball just foul down the right-field line.
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was foul,” said Granderson, who also hit his team-leading 25th homer and came up with an unbelievable to catch to rob Mike Trout of extra bases in the third.
Trout drilled a ball over Granderson’s head, but he sprinted back, extended his arm to make the catch on the track and caromed into the center-field wall.
“This wall in particular is probably the hardest one in all of baseball,” Granderson said. “Even the padding is pretty hard out there, so you have to be careful.”
“It’s an unbelievable catch,” Girardi said. “Trout’s taken away so many from us, it was nice to take one away from him for a change.”
In the end, the Yankees didn’t sweep the Angels because they didn’t pitch.
Ivan Nova gave up a career-high tying three homers in six-plus innings, while Chad Qualls let a one-run deficit balloon to four when he surrendered three runs in the eighth.
And it didn’t help that they couldn’t get the big hit when it counted -- even if it only came down to a matter of inches.
“It’s unfortunate, we were only one hit away from tying that game up,” Girardi said.