ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Dan Haren pitched a four-hitter for his fifth career shutout and retired 18 straight batters as the Los Angeles Angels climbed within 1½ games of the AL West lead with a 6-0 victory over CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees on Saturday night.
Haren (15-8) went the distance for the 15th time in 253 career starts, striking out seven and walking none for the 13th time this season. He threw 113 pitches.
The three-time All-Star right-hander held the AL East leaders to a pair of eighth-inning singles after giving up a ground-rule double to Derek Jeter on his second pitch and a single by rookie Jesus Montero leading off the second.
Jeff Mathis and Torii Hunter homered for the Angels, who have won six of seven and are as close to first-place Texas as they’ve been since Aug. 10. They were a season-worst seven games out on Aug. 17.
Sabathia (19-8) threw 119 pitches in six innings, allowing a run and eight hits. He struck out five and walked four — escaping bases-loaded jams in the first and sixth innings — but failed in his bid to become the first Yankees pitcher in 31 years with back-to-back 20 win seasons.
New York squandered a chance to pad its division lead over Boston, which lost to Tampa Bay, and remained 2½ games in front.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez sat out because of a troublesome left thumb that has hindered him the past three weeks. He has been shut down for at least three days.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi fielded a lineup that had Eric Chavez filling in for Rodriguez, catcher Russell Martin starting in place of Francisco Cervelli, and infielder Eduardo Nunez starting in the outfield for the first time in two big league seasons because right fielder Nick Swisher sat out his second straight game because of pain in his left elbow.
It was the second straight day in which Cervelli was in Girardi’s original lineup, only to be scratched because of concussionlike symptoms stemming from his home plate collision with Baltimore’s Nick Markakis on Thursday.
In the second inning, Martin took a foul tip off the bat of Maicer Izturis and remained in the game after being checked out by the trainer. Izturis lined the next pitch over the head of center fielder Curtis Granderson for a double that scored Mathis.
Martin, however, was pulled before the Angels batted in the third after he appeared to have trouble throwing the ball back to the mound while warming up Sabathia because of a bruised right hand.
Former catcher Jorge Posada then came out in his gear to the delight of hundreds of Yankee fans, who gave him a thunderous ovation.
Howie Kendrick led off with an infield single, then tried to steal second and was erased by Posada, a five-time All-Star catcher limited to first base and designated hitter duty this season.
The Angels broke it open with a four-run seventh against Hector Noesi, who started the inning by hitting Hunter with a 1-2 pitch and walking Mark Trumbo. Mike Trout hit an RBI single, and Erick Aybar followed with a sacrifice fly like the one that pulled out a 2-1 win for the Angels in the ninth inning in Friday’s series opener. Mathis capped the rally with a two-run homer.
Notes: Wells stranded all eight runners that were on base during his five at-bats. … The run Mathis scored in the second was the 1,000th allowed by Sabathia, who fanned Hunter in the third inning for his 2,000th career strikeout. The only left-handers younger than the 31-year-old Sabathia to reach 2,000 strikeouts were Sandy Koufax (29) and Sam McDowell (28). The only other active pitchers to reach the mark are Javier Vazquez and Tim Wakefield.
(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.)