NEW YORK -- Even after the umpire balled his fist and called him out in the first inning of the Yankees' 8-2 win over the Angels, Didi Gregorius wasn't going anywhere. He immediately pointed to the dugout, calling for his manager to challenge.
Joe Girardi did, and the review showed what Gregorius already knew to be true: Angels shortstop Erick Aybar had made the tag, but on his own leg, not Gregorius'.
"I wasn't going anywhere," Gregorius said. "I knew he didn't touch me, he touched himself. He tagged himself."
What seemed to surprise Gregorius most was that he was even involved in the play.
With runners on second and third and just one out, Stephen Drew hit a sharp ground ball to first base, where Albert Pujols gathered it and hesitated, torn between the easy out at first base and the forceout at second. Pujols decided to take the risk.
"It caught me and Aybar off-guard," Gregorius said. "That's what Aybar said, too. He didn't expect the throw."
With Gregorius ruled safe, the bases were left loaded, and the Yankees' first-inning scoring rush was alive. They had already scored four runs, and now threatened to put the game out of reach.
Which they did, pushing across two more runs to secure all the offense they would need. The surge forced the Angels to the bullpen early, with starter Garrett Richards pulled after just two outs.
Richards kept his head low as he shoved the ball into Angels manager Mike Scioscia's hand and scurried off the field. Girardi said that Richards has given the Yankees trouble before but that his team was able to take advantage of what he allowed them tonight.
"I think your thought process is, 'Just keep adding on,'" Girardi said. "But it's nice to have a big lead like that."
Mark Teixeira started the scoring with a sacrifice fly before a wild pitch from Richards scored another. Brian McCann's home run made it 4-0, then singles from Carlos Beltran and Gregorius brought Drew to the plate. The disputed play not only left Gregorius safe and the bases loaded, it led to another run.
Brett Gardner singled to drive in two more, then the Yankees cruised to a series-clinching win behind starter Adam Warren.
"It was amazing," Gregorius said. "Everybody came out, we attacked early, so we went from there. That was our plan today."
Alden Woods is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.