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Yankees hold on for 8-7 victory over Angels

Stephen Drew of the Yankees celebrates his second-inning,

Stephen Drew of the Yankees celebrates his second-inning, two-run home run against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Yankee Stadium on Friday, June 5, 2015. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The boxscore credits the save from Friday night's 8-7 win over the Angels to Dellin Betances. It ought to go to Didi Gregorius.

The much-maligned shortstop made a diving stop to prevent a tying hit and got the Yankees a much-needed second out during a nightmare ninth inning in which the Yankees botched a pop-up and nearly frittered away an 8-1 lead after the Angels pulled superstars Albert Pujols and Mike Trout.

"Thank God for Didi," Betances said after striking out pinch hitter Carlos Perez to end it.

Gregorius' play on a hot shot by Johnny Giavotella came with the bases loaded, one out and the Yankees leading 8-6. If the ball had gotten through, it probably would have been a two-run single. "Didi saved me right there," Betances said. "I'd probably still be throwing more pitches if he didn't make that play."

Gregorius -- who earlier made his eighth error of the season by bobbling a routine grounder -- dived to his right, turned and threw to second for the force as a run scored to make it 8-7. "It's big for me and really big for the team," Gregorius said. "We needed outs. Trying to keep the game in our favor. It felt really great."

The ninth started with the Yankees ahead by seven thanks to two homers and three RBIs by Stephen Drew, a two-run homer by Mark Teixeira and four hits and two more milestones for Alex Rodriguez, who had four hits and is nine shy of 3,000.

Drew's two-run homer off Jered Weaver (4-5) in the second inning and Teixeira's towering blast in the third gave Nathan Eovaldi (5-1) a 4-0 lead.

Rodriguez made it 5-0 in the fifth when his two-out single to right-center drove in Brett Gardner, who had tripled. He passed Barry Bonds with his 1,997th RBI. A-Rod, who has two years left on his Yankees contract, is 300 behind Hank Aaron (2,297).

Rodriguez also passed Stan Musial for eighth on the all-time runs list with his 1,950th when he scored the Yankees' eighth run (all of which were scored with two outs) in the eighth.

Joe Girardi felt so comfortable with the seven-run lead that he gave Teixeira the ninth inning off, moved Chase Headley from third to first and inserted Jose Pirela into the game at second, with Drew shifting to third.

After Esmil Rogers allowed a single and double to start the ninth, Grant Green sent a pop-up to the area between first and second. Headley and Pirela let it fall between them for an RBI single.

Rogers, whose spot on the roster could be in jeopardy with a 6.39 ERA, admitted he was "frustrated" by the missed pop-up.

Said Headley: "It was a miscommunication."

Said Girardi: "I'm getting to the bottom of that."

Rogers walked the next batter and allowed an RBI single by Kole Calhoun to make it 8-3 before Girardi called on Betances, who came in with an 0.00 ERA. He gave up a two-run single to David Freese and walked the next two hitters to force in a run as the Angels pulled within 8-6.

But Betances struck out former Met Kirk Nieuwenhuis for the first out. Giavotella followed with the ball Gregorius was able to turn into the second out, with a run scoring.

With the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first, Betances struck out Perez to end it. His ERA rose to 0.30, but Betances had his second save. Officially, anyway.

"Thank God for Didi," Betances said again. It was worth repeating.


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