ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Peter Bourjos is generally considered the Los Angeles Angels’ best fielder, and he only lost the fly ball in the sun for a moment.
A team in a difficult playoff chase usually can’t afford such mistakes — particularly when facing the New York Yankees.
Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson homered, and New York scored two key runs when Bourjos dropped Mark Teixeira’s seventh-inning fly in a 6-5 victory over the Angels on Sunday, snapping a four-game skid.
Howie Kendrick and Bourjos each hit a two-run homer for the Angels, who dropped 2 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Texas with just their second loss in eight games. Erick Aybar had four hits for the Angels, who completed a 6-3 homestand by going 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
“We shot ourselves in the foot all day on the offensive side,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We had chances to score runners with just some outs, and we left a lot of guys on third base with less than two outs. You need to pick up those runs and keep pressure on them. We just didn’t play the kind of all-around type of game that’s going to lead to a win.”
A day after pulling within 1 1/2 games of the division lead, Los Angeles was left lamenting a close loss and a blown three-run lead after the Rangers routed Oakland 8-1 earlier.
New York had two runners on in the seventh when Bourjos allowed Teixeira’s fly to deep center to pop out of his glove. Bourjos then missed the cutoff man with his throw, allowing Derek Jeter to score easily from first base on the error.
“It kind of flashed into the sun for a second, but it’s a play I’ve got to make,” Bourjos said. “I think I needed to get in a little better position to catch it. It was a turning point in that game, and we lost it right there.”
Ervin Santana (11-11) couldn’t match the shutdown efforts of Jered Weaver and Dan Haren earlier in the series for the Angels. Santana had eight strikeouts, yielding eight hits and four walks before leaving with two runners on in the sixth.
Jeter had two hits and scored the go-ahead run for the first-place Yankees, who moved 3 1/2 games ahead of slumping Boston in the AL East — their biggest lead of the season.
The Yankees’ four-game skid was their second-longest this season, but they still haven’t lost four straight road games all year. New York also avoided getting swept by the Angels for the first time since July 2009.
The Yankees might be stumbling a bit — but compared to the Red Sox, who were pounded again by Tampa Bay on Sunday, they’re rolling.
“We’ve lost a lot of tough games,” Teixeira said. “We’re beat up, very tired, but … we needed a break like that. We’ve been through a lot lately, and for us to scratch this one out, we could smell it. Once we got that lead, we weren’t going to give it back.”
Mariano Rivera picked up his 599th career save, moving two behind career leader Trevor Hoffman. Rivera made his 1,036th appearance, with a catcher making his major league debut: Austin Romine, who grew up 10 minutes away in Lake Forest, Calif.
“We got a little bit lucky today,” Rivera said. “That’s part of the game, but we won.”
Romine made an unlikely debut one day after getting a call from manager Joe Girardi, a week after his minor league season concluded.
Romine, who replaced fellow catching prospect Jesus Montero in the seventh, played in front of more than 20 family members — including Angels infielder Andrew Romine, his older brother.
“It’s a tremendous honor to catch (Rivera),” said Romine, the fifth catcher used by New York in four days. “I’ve played in this ballpark before, so there’s a comfort level.”
Both teams participated in a pregame ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Former Yankees manager Joe Torre was on the field while Jeter, Jorge Posada and Rivera caught ceremonial first pitches from two first responders and a survivor in the attacks on New York and Washington.
“I wish we were at home with the people of New York,” Posada said.
Rivera earned his 40th save of the season. The Yankees play six more road games before returning to New York on Sept. 19.
Cory Wade (5-0) pitched the sixth inning for New York after Freddy Garcia scuffled through the first five, allowing five runs and seven hits.
NOTES: Granderson’s two-run homer in the fifth was the 39th of his remarkable season. … Angels DH Bobby Abreu stole two bases, giving him 20 steals for the 13th consecutive season. That’s the longest streak in the majors since Rickey Henderson had 23 straight seasons of 20 steals from 1979-2001. … Aybar got the Angels’ major league-leading 39th bunt hit in the third inning with a perfect bunt down the third-base line. Aybar and Bourjos account for the majority of Los Angeles’ bunt hits.