Despite the reaction of fans with long memories, Javier Vazquez wasn’t awful in his 2010 home debut.
But he was far from good and the man opposing him, Joel Pineiro, was outstanding in the Yankees 5-3 loss to the Angels at the Stadium.
Pineiro, a free agent the Mets were interested in this offseason, shut out the Yankees over four innings and limited them to one run and five hits over seven. The Yankees made it interesting against the Angels bullpen with two runs in the eighth but Fernando Rodney pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save.
Vazquez was much better than his first start – Friday in Tampa when he gave up eight runs in 5 2/3 innings – allowing four runs and six hits over 5 1/3 innings Wednesday. He walked two and struck out four.
Vazquez (0-2) was booed, though not roundly, as he left the mound, replaced by Alfredo Aceves, who allowed an inherited runner to score and gave up a run of his own in the seventh that made it 5-1.
Vazquez finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting last season and has been one of the majors most durable pitchers over the last decade but is most remembered by Yankee fans for a horrid relief appearance in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. He stranded two in the first inning but wasn’t as fortunate in the third as the first three batters had hits. After Bobby Abreu’s RBI double made it 2-0, Vazquez heard boos for the first time but not the last on the afternoon.
Vazquez settled down, retiring eight of nine after Abreu’s double and the Yankees got one off Pineiro in the fifth on Nick Swisher’s RBI triple.
But Torii Hunter led off the sixth with a double and, though Vazquez struck out Hideki Matsui, hitless against his former team a second straight day, Kendry Morales ripped an RBI double into the gap in right-center that made it 3-1 and finished Vazquez. Maicer Izturis’ RBI single off Aceves brought in Morales to make it 4-1 and Hunter’s run-scoring single in the seventh made it 5-1.
Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia pulled Pineiro (1-1) after seven, replacing him with Scot Shields. The Yankees got two runs off him to pull to 5-3 but Kevin Jepsen struck out Jorge Posada with two runners on and they went quietly in the ninth.