NEW YORK (AP) — Garrett Richards matched Masahiro Tanaka pitch for pitch and impressed the New York Yankees for seven strong innings. It was the eighth that did in the Los Angeles Angels.
Mark Teixeira hit a tying homer and Jacoby Ellsbury scored the go-ahead run thanks to a passed ball and wild pitch, sending the Yankees to a 3-2 victory Sunday night.
“Garrett was terrific. He had explosive stuff,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think both pitchers went toe to toe. We just couldn’t get it done late.”
Tanaka struck out a season-high 11, including Mike Trout twice, and overcame an early bout of wildness in a tight pitchers’ duel with Richards. Neither starter received a decision, leaving both undefeated this year.
“Just one mistake tonight,” Richards said.
David Robertson struck out pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez with a runner on second to end it, and New York has won 10 of 14 after taking two of three in the series.
David Freese homered for the Angels, who went 4-5 on a tough road trip to Detroit, Washington and New York.
Tanaka is 31-0 combined in Japan and the United States over his last 39 regular-season starts. He did lose Game 6 of the Japan Series last year – before earning a save in Game 7.
“First and foremost, I want to win the ballgame. But it would’ve been nice to give him his first loss,” Richards said.
Tanaka walked four in 6 1-3 innings against the Angels, who began the day leading the majors in homers. The $155 million rookie was on the hook for his first regular-season loss since August 2012 in Japan until Teixeira homered leading off the seventh.
New York broke the tie without a hit in the eighth, a rough inning for Angels catcher Chris Iannetta.
With the score 2-all, Michael Kohn (1-1) walked Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Nick Maronde relieved, and both runners advanced on Iannetta’s passed ball.
“It was a fastball right there and I just missed it,” Iannetta said. “One of the dumbest plays I’ve made in my career – or not made.”
Brian McCann barely stayed alive with a couple of foul tips, and Maronde bounced a breaking ball in front of the plate. The ball ricocheted off Iannetta and far enough away for Ellsbury to score easily.
Adam Warren (1-1) pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings. Robertson worked the ninth for his fourth save and second in two days, whiffing Ibanez seconds before security workers tackled a fan who ran into the outfield.
New York managed only three hits, winning a game with three or fewer for the first time since July 7, 2006, at Tampa Bay.
Richards struck out seven and walked two, leaving him with a 1.44 ERA in four road starts this season.
“He was really good. He was effectively wild,” McCann said. “He’s definitely got a really good arm.”
The 25-year-old Richards, who lost his major league debut at Yankee Stadium in August 2011, took a two-hitter and a 2-1 lead into the seventh. That’s when Teixeira launched a 2-2 pitch into the second deck in right field for his second home run since returning from the disabled list last Sunday.
“That’s a really good pitcher,” Teixeira said. “He’s got a very bright future in this game. … A starter that sits at 95-97 (mph), you just don’t see those guys anymore, and he was really tough tonight.”
Freese sent Tanaka’s first pitch of the sixth to right-center for his second home run with the Angels since they acquired him from St. Louis in a November trade. The 2011 World Series MVP began the night batting .149 and recently has lost some playing time at third base to Ian Stewart.
Freese was the designated hitter Sunday.
Tanaka had an amazing ratio of 35 strikeouts to two walks in his first four starts, which covered 29 1-3 innings. But he struggled with his command early on this 54-degree night, walking a batter in each of the first four innings.
Albert Pujols even stared out at the mound after Tanaka backed him off the plate with two straight pitches in the third.
The walks caught up with Tanaka in the fourth, when Erick Aybar led off with a double and scored on an RBI groundout by J.B. Shuck with the bases loaded.
New York tied it in the fifth. A leadoff walk to Teixeira and Brian Roberts’ one-out double set up Ichiro Suzuki’s run-scoring groundout against Richards.
NOTES: The Angels have led in 10 of their 13 losses. Seven of their last nine defeats have been by one run. … Los Angeles called up RHP Mike Morin from Triple-A Salt Lake and optioned OF Brennan Boesch to its top farm team, giving the Angels eight relievers in their shaky bullpen. “Right now I think we can use the extra arm,” Scioscia said. … The Angels begin a nine-game homestand Monday night with LHP Tyler Skaggs on the mound against Cleveland RHP Justin Masterson.