Cano's hit streak to 17 games in win over Halos

Cano's hit streak to 17 games in win over Halos

Cano's hit streak to 17 games in win over Halos
NEW YORK -- The Yankees proved Saturday that they are everything the Angels are not.

Los Angeles' youth movement, backed by the electric Mike Trout, drew five hits and worked five walks off New York starter Freddy Garcia, wearing down the 35-year-old right-hander after just five innings by consistently forcing him to labor while the Angels occupied the basepaths.

But the Yankees needed just four at-bats to back Garcia in their 5-3 win at Yankee Stadium. A leadoff single by Derek Jeter in the bottom of the first was followed by Robinson Cano's 21st home run of the season, and Curtis Granderson added another two-run shot in the third after Chris Stewart singled to lead off the inning.

"This is a team that always hits a lot of home runs," Cano said. "We're doing that with men on base."

New York has come under fire this season for not playing enough "small ball," and its players haven't been shy about stating the team is fine with relying on the home run to generate its offense. Against the Angels -- 30-15 over their last 45 contests -- the Yankees have continued to prove that strategy works, launching four home runs, accounting for nine RBIs, in the first two games of this series.

While the Angels certainly don't lack power, Saturday they played small ball. Angels right fielder Mark Trumbo fell short of his attempt at a record six straight games against New York with a home run, and it was the Yankees who provided all the power.

"Jerome, although he gave up a couple of home runs, pitched much better than his line score shows," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his starter, Jerome Williams.

The Yankees have been doing that to a lot of pitchers lately. New York's offense now leads the Major Leagues with 138 home runs this season, and 37 in its last 20 games. Although the Angels forced the veteran Garcia to battle through tough situations for much of his afternoon, the Yankees' offense -- as it has all season -- backed the pitching staff with its wealth of power.

"We had some good looks early, and obviously got a couple of runs on the board early, but he changed speeds and got through five innings," Scioscia said. "[Williams] made a couple of mistakes, on a changeup to Cano and on a breaking ball to Granderson, and those guys hit the ball out of the park."

The Angels did their best to run up Garcia's pitch count early, as Trout and Erick Aybar led off the game with back-to-back singles. Both eventually came around to score on Alberto Callaspo's two-out single.

To Garcia's relief, the Yankees answered right back, evening the score with Cano's home run -- his 11th in his last 20 home games -- in the bottom half of the frame. The Yankees have scored in the first inning in nine of their last 12 games.

"It's good to help the team win games and tie the game early," Cano said. "We've been like they score, we score. That's what you want. You want to support your starter right away."

Garcia ran into more trouble in the top of the fourth, when Bobby Wilson's ground ball to short scored Howie Kendrick. He then allowed Trout, who went 3-for-5 on the day, to single and steal his way to third, before getting Albert Pujols to ground out to end the inning.

While flirting with 100 pitches in the fifth, Garcia gave up a long drive to the warning track off the bat of Kendrick, but right fielder Nick Swisher made a leaping catch at the wall for the second time in the series, robbing the Angels' second baseman of a potential extra-base hit with Kendrys Morales on first.

"It's not like I had bad command," Garcia said. "I know I gave up five walks, but those guys don't swing at a bad pitch. I tried to make a good pitch and hit the curveball. They're a pretty tough lineup."

That would do it for Garcia, who was on the hook for just three earned runs over five innings despite allowing 10 Angels to reach base.

New York tacked on an additional run against Williams in the sixth, when Cano, whose hit streak reached 17 games, added an RBI single. Williams lasted six innings, allowing all five of the Yankees' runs, while scattering seven hits and walking one.

With Garcia knocked out of the game early, New York had to rely on its bullpen for four innings of work in a tight game. Girardi first called upon Cody Eppley, who delivered two scoreless innings, while allowing just one hit. Setup man David Robertson held the Angels down in the eighth, striking out the first two batters he faced.

"They've done a tremendous job for us all year long," Girardi said. "And it has been different pieces, guys have had to do different roles at different times, but I love the job that they're doing. They're ready to pitch any time I call upon them. Lately, that's been a little bit earlier than we've used Cody, but he was ready to go."

Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect ninth inning to notch his 22nd save of the year, and his second in as many days.

"It's hard to say where we'd be without [Soriano]," Girardi said. "After losing Mo, there's concern. In trying to replace Mo, the pressure that you probably have to feel a little bit can't be easy."

After Mark Teixeira's two monumental home runs in Friday night's Yankees victory, Granderson and Cano's offense was a welcome but familiar sight on Saturday, leaving Girardi content with how his team is playing.

"I think this team is playing almost about as well as it can," Girardi said. "We're getting contributions from a lot of different guys at different times."

Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.