ANAHEIM, Calif. — Flying cross-country late Thursday night did nothing to cool off the Yankees.
Nor did the Angels, who had been playing well.
Maybe the defending world champion Astros will have better luck.
With CC Sabathia turning in seven terrific innings and Gary Sanchez providing just enough offense with a long two-run homer, the Yankees made it nine straight wins with a 2-1 victory over the Angels on Sunday night at Angel Stadium.
“Obviously,” Sabathia said, glancing around the clubhouse, “this is a really good team.”
The Yankees (18-9), who recorded their first road sweep of the Angels (16-12) since 2003, have outscored the opposition 64-18 in the streak. They will start a four-game series against the Astros, who beat them in a classic seven-game ALCS last October, on Monday night in Houston.
Sabathia (2-0) allowed one run and five hits in a season-high seven innings, lowering his ERA to 1.71 in five starts. Chad Green allowed two runners to reach in the eighth, giving up a leadoff walk to Mike Trout and a two-out single by Andrelton Simmons, but he struck out Zack Cozart to end the inning.
Aroldis Chapman walked a batter with one out in the ninth but made it six straight appearances without allowing a run for his sixth save. With a runner on second, he struck out Ian Kinsler on a slider to end it.
“These guys are going to hit,” Sabathia said. “It’s up to us to keep pitching.”
The staff has done just that throughout this streak and did it again Sunday night against the Angels. It was needed, as the Yankees managed only four hits and struck out 13 times.
“Obviously, the offense is a big story for us, but we’re not doing this without the starting pitching we’ve been getting,” Aaron Boone said. “They’ve for the most part been consistent and then turning it over to our bullpen, which is starting to find a good groove. It’s been a good brand of baseball all the way around.”
Angels lefthander Tyler Skaggs pitched well in his first career appearance against the Yankees, allowing two runs and three hits in 5 1⁄3 innings. He struck out eight but couldn’t overcome one mistake — Sanchez’s seventh homer, a monstrous two-run shot in the fourth that soared well over both bullpens in left-center. It was estimated to have traveled 447 feet.
“The only other person I’ve seen go over the bullpens here is A-Rod,” Sabathia said, referencing Alex Rodriguez, who happened to be in the ESPN broadcast booth.
It was Sanchez’s 60th career homer, the second-most through 201 career games to teammate Aaron Judge, who has 62. After going 2-for-36 in his first nine games this season, Sanchez is 18-for-60 with six homers and 21 RBIs in his last 15. His last eight hits have been four home runs and four doubles.
The Angels threatened in the third but came up empty, but the inning was memorable because of the near-ejection of Boone, which would have been the first of his managerial career.
Sabathia retired the first two hitters but Kinsler doubled to left-center on a 3-and-1 fastball. Trout bounced a routine grounder to short, but Didi Gregorius, stellar all season in the field, sailed his throw to first for an error, which put runners at the corners.
Sabathia thought he had Justin Upton struck out on a 1-and-2 fastball, but Angel Hernandez called the borderline pitch a ball. Sabathia made a face in reacting to the call. Upton grounded out to third one pitch later, and Hernandez made his way up the first-base line, seeming to shout at Sabathia as he walked toward the dugout. Sabathia appeared to shout, “Don’t talk to me! Call [expletive] strikes!” in reply.
Boone darted from the dugout and got in Hernandez’s face to end the back-and-forth, but he stayed in the game.
“I thought I was throwing strikes,” Sabathia said with a shrug and a smile afterward. “That’s it.”
Sabathia’s performance, which included few hard-hit balls, again left his teammates in a state of admiration.
“I mean everything was working for him tonight,” Sanchez said through his translator. “All of his pitches were sharp — the slider, the cutter, the changeup got better as the game went on. He was very good tonight.”