NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees manager Joe Girardi finally got to use the overpowering 1-2 at the back of his bullpen, getting innings from Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman in the same game for the first time since early May.
Of course, he would have rather not needed both Wednesday night, but that’s a problem for another day.
First, to celebrate a much-needed victory.
Didi Gregorius and Matt Holliday each hit a go-ahead homer, and New York piled on from there to beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-4 and snap a season-high seven-game losing streak.
New York’s skid was its longest since 2007. The Yankees haven’t lost eight straight since August 1995. They moved back ahead of Boston for first place in the AL East a night after losing the division lead for the first time since mid-May.
“It’s nice,” Girardi said. “It’s been a frustrating week, no doubt about it.”
Jordan Montgomery (5-4) pitched two-run ball over 5 2/3 innings, and relievers Chad Green and Betances got the ball to Tyler Clippard in the ninth.
Clippard, pitching a night after being booed off the mound, allowed a leadoff double to Andrelton Simmons and a two-run homer to Martin Maldonado, his second of the game.
Clippard, New York’s go-to seventh-inning man, has allowed at least a run in four of his past five appearances, including three in 1/3 of an inning Tuesday night.
“Trying to get him a clean inning and it didn’t work,” Girardi said. “He’ll get back on track.”
Instead, Girardi called on Chapman to close out. The hard-throwing left-hander went 1-2-3 in his second appearance since coming off the disabled list Sunday.
Montgomery pitched with an extra day of rest and gave up five hits, including a two-run homer by Maldonado, while striking out five. The left-hander is 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA over his past six starts.
Maldonado had the first multi-homer game of his career. He and Andrelton Simmons each had three hits for the Angels.
Austin Romine added a two-run single for New York in the sixth. The backup catcher had three hits, and is batting.350 with 12 RBIs with runners in scoring position this season.
Aaron Hicks scored Romine with a single, and Starlin Castro and Chase Headley added RBIs in the seventh.
RUNS ON RICKY
Ricky Nolasco (2-9) lost his seventh consecutive start to match George Brunet’s franchise record from 1967. The Angels have lost 10 straight with the right-hander on the mound.
Nolasco allowed the homers to Holliday and Gregorius, and has given up 23 long balls this season, tied for the major league lead with Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo.
“Ricky’s been a good major league starting pitcher,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “And he’s not that far off from being where we feel he’s going to be as productive as he was towards the end of last year.
“We all feel this is really correctable with Ricky,” Scioscia added.
Betances and Chapman hadn’t pitched in the same game since Chapman blew a save against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 7, a game New York won 5-4 in 18 innings.
Betances struck out two in a perfect eighth Wednesday in his first game since June 15.
BIG APPLE BIG FLIES
Gregorius lofted a two-run homer for New York down the right field line in the second inning that started the scoring. It was the eighth homer of the season for Gregorius and his second in three games.
Holliday, making his seventh start this season at first base, went the other way for a solo homer in the fifth inning that made it 3-2. It was his 15th homer.
The Angels waived right-hander Doug Fister to release him from his minor league contract. The 6-foot-8 starter was 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA in three starts with Triple-A Salt Lake.
Angels: Huston Street was set to be evaluated Wednesday. The right-hander allowed one hit over 1 1/3 innings for Salt Lake in a rehab outing Monday.
Yankees: 1B Greg Bird received a cortisone shot to address a bruised right ankle. Bird’s minor league rehab assignment was cut short after he went 3 for 21 at Triple-A from June 1-14. He hasn’t played for the Yankees since May 1. … CF Jacoby Ellsbury, out since sustaining a concussion May 24, ran the bases and was set to take batting practice.
Yankees RHP Luis Severino (5-2, 2.99 ERA) tries to rebound from a tough start in a matchup with Angels RHP Jesse Chavez (5-7, 4.85). Severino allowed four runs and four walks over six innings in a 7-6 loss to Oakland on June 16. He had gone seven straight starts allowing three or fewer runs.
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