The Yankees beat the Angels, 10-6, Wednesday, with Javier Vazquez picking up his eighth victory. That information undoubtedly was the least interesting element of a sweltering and sometimes bizarre afternoon at the Stadium.
The game could be broken down into three distinct parts.
There was the blowout that seemed imminent when the Yankees jumped to a 6-0 lead after four; a middle-inning comeback by the Angels in which a bullpen meltdown looked equally assured; and, finally, an odd seventh inning in which the Yankees barely held on to their one-run lead, then expanded it under strange circumstances.
That came when Colin Curtis was rushed to the plate to inherit an 0-and-2 count after Brett Gardner was ejected by plate umpire Paul Emmel for disputing the previous pitch. Emmel also threw out Joe Girardi the night before.
With two on, Curtis worked the count full, then hit Scot Shields' next pitch into the seats in right for a 10-5 lead, the 25-year-old outfielder's first career home run. He even received a request from the 47,521 fans for a curtain call.
"The thrill of a lifetime," said Curtis, whose three-run homer was preceded by Juan Miranda's solo shot that gave the Yankees some much needed breathing room at 7-5.
Much needed because Vazquez (8-7) had given up most of his 6-0 lead, aided by a four-run third inning highlighted by Robinson Cano's 18th homer, off Joel Piñeiro (10-7).
"I didn't feel I had great stuff out there today," Vazquez said. "I located well early but I didn't locate well in the game later on."
The righthander cruised the first four innings - only 26 pitches through three - but he came apart in the fifth and sixth. Bobby Wilson's two-run homer was the big blow in the Angels' three-run fifth, and Hideki Matsui's second two-run homer in as many days made it 6-5 with none out in the sixth.
"I wish I would have done a better job out there of not letting them get so tight in the game," Vazquez said.
After Matsui's homer, Girardi called for David Robertson, who struck out his first batter, then loaded the bases before escaping. Lefty Boone Logan retired two batters in the seventh and allowed a hit before Joba Chamberlain came on. Chamberlain gave up a walk and an infield hit to load the bases before inducing a grounder to end the inning.
"Those guys made pitches to get out of jams," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose team left 10 on base.
The offense was a nice change for Vazquez, who came in getting only 3.90 runs of support per game, the fewest of any Yankees starter.
"We're happy to score for him because he's had some games where he's pitched outstanding and we haven't scored for him and people wonder why he doesn't have as many wins," Jeter said. "Today, fortunately we were able to get a lot more runs for him."