His day had gone pretty well to that point, and Alex Rodriguez called it an "awesome" spot to be in.
"When he comes up in that situation," Nick Swisher said, "I'm thinking he's going to hit something hard. Real hard."
A-Rod, already 2-for-4 with a home run , instead hit something really high, popping out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to end a 10-8 loss to the Angels on Sunday at the Stadium.
The Yankees entered their last at-bat trailing 10-5, but four batters later, they trailed by three runs and had the tying run at the plate with none out.
Mark Teixeira's 18th homer, a two-run blast off Ernesto Frieri -- who hadn't allowed a run in 261/3 innings since being traded to the Angels in May -- made it 10-7. After Curtis Granderson's bid for a walk-off grand slam went foul and lefty Scott Downs walked him to force in a run, Mike Scioscia brought in righty Kevin Jepsen to face Rodriguez, and on the 46th pitch of the half-inning, his pop-up to a backpedaling Albert Pujols left A-Rod furious at himself and allowed the Angels to avoid the sweep.
"We loaded the gun for them and they almost pulled the trigger," said Scioscia, whose team walked four in the inning.
Said A-Rod: "Awesome situation, lousy result."
Because of the sweltering heat and the frequency of baseballs flying over fences, it was reminiscent of a 10-5 loss to the Braves on June 20 in which the clubs totaled nine home runs.
The Yankees, who still lead the Orioles by eight games, had 12 hits. The Angels had 15. "It's not weird [to lose] when you give up 10 runs, but it is kind of strange when you hit four home runs and don't win a game," Joe Girardi said. "It's going to happen. We just weren't able to hold them down today."
Neither team did much of that. It would be foolish to put the loss on Rodriguez -- not with Ivan Nova allowing a season-worst three home runs and the bullpen floundering late, as the Angels scored eight runs in the last four innings.
A-Rod's two-run homer in the first gave him 14, snapped his homerless streak at 49 at-bats and tied the score at 2-2 after back-to-back blasts by Aybar and Pujols.
Nova allowed six runs and nine hits in six innings-plus but actually took the mound in the sixth with a 3-2 lead. He left it with the Yankees trailing 5-3 after Alberto Callaspo's sacrifice fly and Izturis' first home run since last July 29, a two-run shot.
"I couldn't throw my fastball where I wanted," said Nova (10-4, 4.18). "I battled, but it's not a good feeling right now."
Granderson's 25th homer, a shot halfway up the second deck in right, pulled the Yankees within 5-4 in the sixth, and Chavez's eighth homer cut their deficit to 6-5 in the seventh. But Chad Qualls allowed three runs in the eighth to make it 9-5 and D.J. Mitchell gave up Trumbo's 24th homer in the ninth.
"He's [Qualls] a sinkerballer and he's trying to keep the ball down. But he just missed some spots," said Girardi, who added that he would have gone to David Robertson in the eighth had the score been tied.
The Yankees didn't distinguish themselves on the bases, most notably in the third. After singles by Rodriguez and Robinson Cano (who extended his hitting streak to 18 games) put runners at first and third with one out and Teixeira up, Jered Weaver (11-1) went to the Jeff Nelson move that never works -- and made it work. He stepped off, looked toward third and caught Cano heading for second prematurely. Aybar took Pujols' throw and quickly tagged out Cano, and when A-Rod belatedly broke for the plate, the shortstop fired home and nailed him, too.
"We had some bad reads is what we had," Girardi said. "It's guys being aggressive, and I don't mind them being aggressive, but sometimes they're going to make mistakes. That's the human part of the game."