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Yankees cash in where it counts in 5-3 victory over Angels

New York's Mark Teixeira hits two home runs and spectators throw $1 bills on the field after Nick Swisher's shot in the eighth inning, making for a bizarre afternoon.

June 05, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna

The afternoon was disorienting enough for the Angels, who, while suffering a 5-3 loss to New York, put up with chants of "Let's go, Yankees!" in their home stadium and ear-splitting ovations after each of New York slugger Mark Teixeira's two home runs.

The Angels are used to boisterous Yankees fans in Anaheim, but Sunday's crowd was so pro-New York that some Angels probably walked out of the stadium looking for the No. 4 train to Manhattan.

Then things became truly bizarre in the eighth inning, when, after Nick Swisher's home run put the Yankees up 5-3, fans in the right-field pavilion showered Angels right fielder Torii Hunter with $1 bills.

"I can't believe they're throwing money like that in a recession," Hunter said. "There's so many people with no jobs, no money, and they made it rain [dollar bills] at a baseball game. That was crazy."

Hunter, who was hitless in five at-bats and grounded into a double play with runners on first and third to end the game, stuffed a bunch of bills in his pocket and gave them to a young fan sitting next to the Angels' dugout.

"I was not going to let that blow away," Hunter said. "I called time out to pick it up. It was my lucky day. I didn't get any hits, but I did get $24 and gave it to a kid."

The question no one could answer: Why on earth would fans in Angel Stadium shower Hunter with $1 bills?

Were they Yankees fans taunting Hunter, who is paid $18 million a year? Or were they Angels fans who thought Swisher was actually Teixeira, who spurned the Angels' eight-year, $160-million offer to sign a $180-million deal with the Yankees after the 2008 season?

"Those would be the dumbest fans ever," Teixeira said, dismissing the mistaken-identity theory. "That couldn't have been it. Swish hits sixth and wears No. 33. I bat third and wear No. 25."

Teixeira hit a home run to right field in the third inning and a two-run shot to right field in the fifth, both against starter Joel Pineiro. The switch-hitter has 18 homers and 41 runs batted in.

Mark Trumbo hit a home run, his 11th, in the third inning, but the Angels left the bases loaded in the sixth and two on in the third, fifth and seventh innings.

"They beat us with the long ball," said Hunter, who is hitless in 18 at-bats and has grounded into 16 double plays, tied for the major league lead with Albert Pujols. "That's why chicks dig it."

The Angels, who fell 41/2 games behind Texas in the American League West, beat the Yankees, 3-2, Friday night. They lost by a run (3-2) Saturday and two runs Sunday, but the gap between the teams seems so much wider.

New York ranks first in the league in runs (293) and homers (88) and second in on-base percentage (.334). The Yankees are hitting .246 with runners in scoring position and .404 with the bases loaded.

The Angels rank 10th in runs (234), 10th in homers (48) and ninth in on-base percentage (.322). They're batting .230 with runners in scoring position and a league-low .171 (six for 35) with the bases loaded.

"The Yankees can hit home runs all the way through the lineup, but there is more than one way to score runs," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We need to get deeper on the offensive side. We need to drive the ball and combine that with the situational game.

"We need to get better, and we're going to focus on that. The bottom line is we're very confident that if we get the guys in this clubhouse to play to their potential, and Vernon [Wells] is a big part of that, we can match up with anyone. We're not there yet."

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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