NEW YORK (AP) — John Ryan Murphy spent a while in the minors catching Dellin Betances, hoping they could someday contribute on a higher level.
On Saturday, they teamed up in a major way.
Murphy hit his first big league homer and drove in three runs, Betances earned his first win in the majors and the New York Yankees bounced back to beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 Saturday.
“I don’t think it can get any better,” Murphy said.
David Robertson posted his first save since coming off the disabled list. Mike Trout singled with one out and stole second, setting up a nervy ninth inning.
Albert Pujols followed with a foul pop, and first baseman Mark Teixeira drifted near the stands. But when he reached into the seats trying to catch it, two Yankees fans reached up and deflected it away.
“I understand it. People want baseballs,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s not what you want to see at your home ballpark.”
But Robertson regrouped to retire Pujols on a routine fly and struck out Howie Kendrick to end it.
A day after the Angels homered four times in a 13-1 romp, they started strong when Trout hit a solo shot on the seventh pitch of the afternoon.
Murphy lined a two-out, two-run single in the second that gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead. The backup catcher homered on the first pitch in the fifth, tagging Hector Santiago (0-4) for a 4-3 lead.
“We had reports on him,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He did a good job on a changeup with guys on second and third early. It was up and he just stayed with it to right field. And he got a first-pitch fastball over the middle of the plate and he hit it out of the park. So, those are two mistakes.”
Murphy made his big league debut last season and began the day 6 for 36 with one RBI in his career. He played two weeks shy of his 23rd birthday while All-Star Brian McCann got a day off.
“The more time you’re out there, the easier it becomes,” Murphy said.
Last year, Murphy enjoyed a special moment, catching the final pitches of Mariano Rivera’s career. Called up this month when Francisco Cervelli was hurt, Murphy made his own memory on this day.
“He’ll never forget it,” Girardi said.
Especially because the fan in left field who wound up with Murphy’s home-run ball gave it back to him. Murphy said the souvenir was going to his mom.
“I’m so happy for him,” Betances said.
Betances said he hadn’t yet tracked down any mementoes from the game. No problem, the 26-year-old righty left with something more memorable.
“It was good to get the first win,” he said.
Betances (1-0) took over in the fifth for shaky starter Vidal Nuno and pitched two scoreless innings. The 6-foot-8 reliever struck out three, and has fanned 19 in 11 2-3 innings this season.
“Happy for the kid, he’s been through a lot,” Girardi said. “He’s had to change roles, he had to fight to get here.”
Said Murphy: “When he’s in the strike zone, he’s unhittable.”
Reliever Shawn Kelley got Pujols in a key spot in the seventh and Matt Thornton got pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez on a lineout with two runners on to finish the eighth.
Robertson got his third save. He was activated from the DL on Tuesday after being out because of a strained left groin.
Both teams started a 26-year-old lefty, and each lasted only 4 1-3 innings. Nuno pitched in place of Ivan Nova, who’s set for Tommy John surgery next week.
Trout hit his sixth home run, sending a solo shot into the right-center field seats. The New Jersey native got a cheer from his parents in the stands.
The Yankees loaded the bases in the second, and a balk scored the tying run before Murphy singled.
A clean, hard slide by Kendrick helped the Angels make it 3-all in the fourth. He knocked down Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts, whose throw on a potential double-play relay sailed into the dugout and let a run score. Chris Iannetta added a tying double.
Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury made a diving catch with runners at the corners to end the inning.
NOTES: Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (3-0, 2.15) starts against RHP Garrett Richards (2-0, 2.52) on Sunday night. … Santiago’s teams have lost the last nine times he’s started. He pitched for the White Sox last year. … Yankees LF Brett Gardner was hit in the left foot by a pitch from Ernesto Frieri in the eighth. Gardner was examined by a trainer, hobbled to first and stayed in the game.