09/18 21:18 CDT Ottavino botches throw, Yankees miss to chance to clinch
Ottavino botches throw, Yankees miss to chance to clinch
By JAKE SEINER
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) --- Relief pitcher Adam Ottavino sailed a 30-foot throw home on
Albert Pujols' tiebreaking chopper, and the sloppy New York Yankees lost to the
Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Wednesday night with a chance to clinch the AL East.
New York could still lock up the division title if Tampa Bay loses to the Los
Angeles Dodgers later Wednesday. The Yankees would have been assured a playoff
spot if Cleveland had lost, but the Indians beat Detroit 3-2 in 10 innings.
Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton stung the ball in his return from injury and
CC Sabathia got an emotional send-off in his final regular-season start in the
Bronx, yet New York dropped to 99-54 after entering the night tied with Houston
for the majors' best record.
New York hasn't won the AL East since 2012, the third-longest drought for the
club since divisions were formed in 1969.
Angels right-hander Luke Bard (2-2) struck out five over three perfect innings
of relief. David Fletcher had three hits and Pujols added two hits, an RBI and
a stolen base. Los Angeles had traffic all night and left 13 on base.
Defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons dived to his backhand at shortstop to rob Luke
Voit of a hit in the ninth, helping Hansel Robles complete his 22nd save.
Fletcher loaded the bases in the third on an infield single when Voit hesitated
at first base on a slow roller, and Ottavino (6-5) blundered two batters later.
Pujols hit a big one-hopper toward the mound, and Ottavino missed high and wide
trying to toss the ball home. Michael Hermosillo scored to make it 3-2.
Aaron Judge hit a tying, two-run homer for New York in the third, his 24th
during an injury-shortened season.
Stanton played just his 10th game this year and first since straining the
posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee June 25. The 29-year-old slugger
lined a double into the left-center gap leading off the second inning, socked a
114.3 mph groundout in the fourth and struck out in the sixth before being
replaced in the seventh to manage his workload.
Stanton nearly threw out a runner from left field during the third inning, but
catcher Kyle Higashioka dropped the ball trying to apply a swift, difficult tag
at the plate.
Pujols nearly had a third hit, but shortstop Didi Gregorius dived to stop his
grounder up the middle in the eighth.
SHORT AND SWEET
Sabathia, set to retire after the season, made his 147th start at Yankee
Stadium, most since the ballpark opened in 2009. He struck out four straight at
one point, but then allowed five consecutive batters to reach in the third
inning. He left trailing 2-0 with the bases loaded and two outs.
Fans stood and cheered as manager Aaron Boone pulled Sabathia, and the
39-year-old tipped his cap after handing off the ball. Yankees players lined up
outside the dugout, and Sabathia smiled wide as longtime teammate Dellin
Betances offered up a hug. Fans chanted "CC! CC!" while the left-hander
embraced more teammates, and Sabathia waved his hat once more before ducking
into the dugout.
Domingo Germn, an 18-game winner this year, replaced Sabathia in another trial
run of New York's plan to piggyback starters in the postseason. Germn pitched
out of the third without further damage and covered 2 1/3 scoreless innings of
one-hit ball to keep it tied at 2.
GOOD AS GOLD
Gold Glove right fielder Kole Calhoun laid out to take a hit away from Voit in
Angels: OF Mike Trout will have surgery Friday morning on his right foot to
treat Morton's neuroma, a thickening of tissue around a nerve leading to toes
that causes pain. Trout had already been ruled out for the season. ... INF Luis
Rengifo had an MRI after hurting his left hand on a swing and miss Tuesday, but
the team was still awaiting results. ... The Angels called up two-way player
Kaleb Cowart and expect to use him as a pitcher and infielder.
Yankees: Stanton will play regularly at DH and left field down the stretch to
build up his timing and durability. ... RHP Dellin Betances was added to the
60-day IL with a partially torn Achilles tendon. New York is awaiting results
from a second opinion.
The Yankees pushed back LHP J.A. Happ's scheduled start a day and will throw
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (10-8, 4.60) in Thursday's series finale against the
Angels. LHP Andrew Heaney (4-5, 4.76) is set to start for Los Angeles.
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