ANAHEIM, Calif. — The shortstop who keeps insisting “I’m not a home run hitter” keeps hitting home runs.
Didi Gregorius notched another one Friday night, ripping a solo shot in the 10th inning to give the Yankees a highly entertaining 4-3 victory over the Angels in front of 40,416 at Angel Stadium.
It was the seventh straight victory for the Yankees (16-9), who rallied to tie it in the ninth against Angels closer Keynan Middleton on pinch hitter Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly.
“A fun game to be a part of,’’ Aaron Boone said.
No one is having more fun, or producing more of it in the Yankees’ dugout, than Gregorius.
The shortstop, who went 15-for-37 with six homers and 16 RBIs during the Yankees’ recent 10-game homestand and already had two hits Friday night, stepped in against righthander Blake Parker with one out in the 10th.
Gregorius, who hit a career-best 25 homers last season, launched a 1-and-1 fastball deep to right, well beyond the reach of rightfielder Kole Calhoun — no small feat given the latter’s evening (more on that in a moment).
The blast — his first away from Yankee Stadium this season — gave Gregorius 10 homers, tying him with Mike Trout for most in the majors. It also earned him a curtain call from the crowd, seemingly split between Yankees and Angels fans.
“That was weird for me,” said Gregorius, implored by Aaron Judge to “give the fans what they want” regarding the curtain call.
“No,” Giancarlo Stanton said of ever seeing a road curtain call in his career, now in its ninth season. “That was awesome. I’ve never seen that before. Baseball’s got a lot of firsts and that’s a first one, too.”
Gregorius has 30 RBIs in 25 games and is 11-for-24 with five homers and 12 RBIs in his last six games.
“Oh my God,” said Luis Severino, who struck out eight in seven innings and allowed three runs and five hits, including a solo homer by Shohei Ohtani in the second and a two-out, two-run triple by Andrelton Simmons in the seventh. “He’s amazing. I don’t know how he’s doing it. He’s hitting everything.”
“Feel like you guys ask me that every night,” said Judge, asked about Gregorius’ recent stretch. “And it never gets old answering, man. It’s just impressive what he’s doing.”
Gregorius has been the lone Yankee seemingly unimpressed.
“You still have to work to try to get better,” said Gregorius, who also has played Gold Glove-caliber defense at short. “You can’t be satisfied, otherwise the game will pass you by. You can’t be bigger than the game. You have to always keep working.”
Aroldis Chapman allowed a two-out double to Zack Cozart in the bottom of the 10th, but former Yankee Chris Young popped to first. It was Chapman’s fifth save.
Middleton started the ninth looking for his seventh save but could not get it done. Gary Sanchez walked and, after Neil Walker struck out, Miguel Andujar lined an 0-and-2 fastball into the leftfield corner for his second double of the night. Andujar has at least one extra-base hit in nine of his last 11 games.
Gleyber Torres was intentionally walked to load the bases and Boone sent up Gardner to pinch hit for Ronald Torreyes. His sacrifice fly to left tied it at 3.
It overshadowed to a degree one of the oddest plays of the season to this point, which occurred in the sixth inning.
Gregorius led off with a bunt single and Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought on righty Jim Johnson to replace lefty starter Andrew Heaney. Stanton hit a grounder to short and Simmons made a rare error. Sanchez struck out on a ball in the dirt, which turned into a wild pitch that allowed the runners to advance, and Walker crushed a 0-and-1 fastball to right. But Calhoun robbed Walker of a home run, bringing the ball back over the fence with a leaping grab (he earlier stole a hit from Torres with a full-body dive on a sinking liner).
Gregorius tagged, as did Stanton, who was called out for leaving too early, though replays seemed to be inconclusive. He later was resolute in saying he felt he tagged legally.
Replays also were inconclusive about whether Gregorius had crossed the plate before Stanton was called out at second. Regardless of the confusion — both managers talked with crew chief Bill Miller, though neither challenged the call — the run counted for a 2-1 Yankees lead.
Boone said Miller told him that too much time had passed so he could not challenge the out at second, but the manager added that it was his error.
“By the time I wanted to challenge, it was too late, which ultimately is a mistake on me,” Boone said. “Because on a boundary play, we don’t even have to challenge. I should have had them look at it regardless. But it was a great play by Calhoun.”
Walker had hit an earlier drive to leftfield that had appeared headed over the fence before dying on the warning track, and Stanton did the same in the eighth. Referring to the sixth-inning drive that wound up being a double play, Walker thought it was a homer off the bat.
“You have to be Didi,” he said with a laugh, “to get one out of here.”