Most likely, many fans did not stay up late enough to see every pitch of the agonizing six-game losing streak the Yankees brought back to the Bronx from the West Coast.
There were enough close losses and bullpen meltdowns out west that Joe Girardi said, “Pretty easily we could have been 5-2.”
But they weren’t. They were 1-6.
So for some fans, it was a fresh coat of yuck Tuesday night when Tyler Clippard entered a tie game in the seventh inning and promptly gave up a home run. For others — those who were particularly bleary-eyed last week — it was more of the same.
The Angels went on to score three runs in the inning — all charged to Clippard — as the Yankees lost their seventh in a row, 8-3, before 39,853 at Yankee Stadium. It’s their longest losing streak in a single season since April 2007.
The loss dropped the Yankees out of first place for the first time since May 20. They are one-half game behind the Red Sox, who won in Kansas City, 8-3.
“We’re not in first place — that’s the relevance,” Girardi said. “And we’ve got to catch them now. That would be the difference. There’s a lot of games to go. I understand that. We need to play better.”
Clippard’s latest poor showing — four batters faced, three loud extra-base hits, one long out — dimmed the Yankees’ hopes after Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez led a comeback from an early 3-0 deficit. With the Yankees trailing 3-1, Judge hit his MLB-leading 24th home run in the fifth inning. Sanchez tied it an inning later with his 12th.
Optimism was high in the Bronx until Clippard threw a 1-and-0 pitch that Cameron Maybin deposited into the leftfield stands to give the Angels a 4-3 lead. Kole Calhoun followed with a double and moved to third on Albert Pujols’ long drive to center. Yunel Escobar tripled off the very top of the leftfield wall to make it 5-3. The ball hit the wall and then the back of the glove of a leaping Brett Gardner.
Girardi removed Clippard, who was booed as he walked to the dugout.
“Whether the fans are booing or cheering, it doesn’t really matter,” Clippard said. “It’s just frustrating to be in this rut. To not win games isn’t fun. I’m sure it’s not fun for the fans, either.”
With the infield in, Jonathan Holder allowed an RBI single to Luis Valbuena to give the Angels a three-run cushion. Clippard’s record fell to 1-4 and his ERA, which was 1.64 entering June, rose to 3.13.
“Tonight,” Clippard said, “was not good.”
Holder gave up a run in the eighth on an RBI single by Maybin (3-for-5, two RBIs) and another in the ninth on a solo homer by Valbuena.
“We’re going through a tough time right now,” Girardi said. “Clip’s had too much success . . . for this to continue. But right now, it’s a struggle.”
Michael Pineda, who allowed five runs in six innings to the Angels in Anaheim in his last start, gave up a run in the first and two in the second. The runs in the second were unearned because of a two-base error by first baseman Chris Carter.
Pineda settled in from there and lasted 5 2⁄3 innings. He was charged with three runs (one earned). Pineda allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out seven.
The Yankees, who collected four walks from Parker Bridwell over the first three innings, didn’t get their first hit until Didi Gregorius led off the fourth with a single. Bridwell walked Sanchez, and Gregorius scored one out later on Chase Headley’s sacrifice fly to center.
Judge, who flirted with home runs in his first two at-bats, made it 3-2 in the fifth with a two-out shot to right-center. Sanchez tied it with a home run off Blake Parker, also to right-center.