NEW YORK — By the third inning in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night, the Angels had Chris Nelson at third base, Tommy Field at shortstop, Grant Green at second base, Collin Cowgill in right field and J.B. Shuck in left field.
Not exactly the "template," to borrow one of Manager Mike Scioscia's favorite words, the Angels had in mind in April, but it's emblematic of a season that has gone from bad to worse to unrecognizable.
The Angels, their depleted ranks thinned further by a left-calf cramp that knocked shortstop Erick Aybar out in the third inning, hung with the New York Yankees for three innings, but they were pummeled in the next five rounds.
The Yankees rocked starter Jason Vargas and relievers J.C. Gutierrez, Nick Maronde, Michael Kohn and Joe Blanton for 13 runs and 15 hits in the fourth through eighth innings of a 14-7 victory, sending the Angels to their 13th loss in 18 games.
Alfonso Soriano drove in six runs with two home runs and a single, and CC Sabathia (10-10) gave up three runs — two earned — and three hits, struck out seven and walked six in six innings to end a six-start winless streak.
The only highlights for the Angels, who gave up 19 hits, were a first-inning, two-run home run by struggling first baseman Mark Trumbo, who was batting .121 (seven for 58) in his last 14 games, and Mike Trout's three-run home run in a four-run ninth inning that came long after the game was decided.
"We don't feel sorry for ourselves, and nobody feels sorry for us," Scioscia said. "We're going to keep playing baseball. We have some guys playing well, some guys pitching well, and hopefully, as a whole, we'll keep it together and have an opportunity to win games."
These days, they seem to find new and creative ways to lose.
With the bases loaded, one out and the Angels trailing, 4-3, in the sixth inning, Field hit what appeared to be a score-tying sacrifice fly to left field. But the Yankees relayed a throw to third base, and plate umpire David Rackley ruled Nelson left early, nullifying the run and ending the inning on a double play.
Replays showed Rackley missed the call.
Alex Rodriguez highlighted a four-run sixth inning with a two-run double against Kohn, and Soriano, who hit a two-run home run against Vargas in the fifth, capped a four-run seventh with a three-run home run against Blanton, the 26th home run given up by the former starter, who was demoted to the bullpen in late July.
"You can't look at one play and say it makes a difference," Scioscia said, "but if we tie the game in the sixth, there's no doubt we have a little different lineup as far as the bullpen we'd use, and it might have affected the game."
Scioscia argued long and loud with Rackley but was not ejected.
"I don't know how he could have seen it, first of all, and if he did see it, his foot was on the bag when he caught the ball," Scioscia said. "A runner's body will move. That's what you teach, to get some momentum and keep the foot on bag until ball is caught. I thought Chris did it perfectly."
So did Nelson.
"I knew I tagged up," he said. "I didn't second-guess myself."
Not only would the sacrifice fly have tied the score, the sixth inning would have continued for the Angels with two on, two out and Shuck, the leadoff batter, up with Trout lurking.
"We all saw the replay, but those things, you can't change," Vargas said. "I made a mistake to Soriano; they're going to make mistakes too. Sometimes that changes the complexion of a game, the way momentum shifts. It's unfortunate, but we have to be able to deal with that."
Aybar, who also was spiked in the left shin on a second-inning play, said he would be able to play Wednesday night. … Peter Bourjos is not expected to join the Angels in New York, but the center fielder, recovering from a broken right wrist, will probably return Friday night in Anaheim. … Second baseman Howie Kendrick (left-knee sprain) began hitting in a cage and doing light agility drills Tuesday but hasn't begun running. … Struggling right-hander Tommy Hanson, optioned to triple A on Monday night for the first time since 2009, is scheduled to make his first start for Salt Lake on Friday night.
Twitter: @MikeDiGiovannaCopyright © 2015, CT Now