New York's Mark Teixeira hits a three-run home run during the eighth… (Frank Franklin II / Associated…)
NEW YORK — It had been so long since the Angels witnessed this kind of bullpen meltdown you almost forgot how dreadful the relievers were in April, when they blew six of seven save opportunities during a 6-14 start.
Those painful memories came flooding back Friday night in Yankee Stadium, where veteran left-hander Scott Downs, nearly perfect for 31/2 months, had his worst outing in six years, giving up four runs in the eighth inning of a 6-5 loss to New York.
Mark Teixeira hit his second homer, a three-run shot off Downs that tied the score at 5, and Russell Martin capped the rally with a run-scoring single off Kevin Jepsen, as the Angels opened play after the All-Star break with one of their most gut-wrenching losses of the season and their 16th loss in their last 21 games in the Bronx.
"You don't have a choice — you have to put this behind you," said pitcher C.J. Wilson, whose seven-inning, two-run, five-hit effort was wasted. "In the second half, you have to have a big windshield and keep looking ahead. You can't have a rearview mirror. You can't look at what just happened."
Downs had allowed one earned run in 30 innings of 32 games for a microscopic 0.30 ERA, teaming with right-hander Ernesto Frieri (0.00 ERA in 261/3 innings) to give the Angels a formidable one-two relief punch.
But a few poorly placed pitches led to the team's second blown save in 29 games and Downs' worst outing since he gave up six runs at Baltimore on Aug. 18, 2006. Downs left with a 1.47 ERA and a case of amnesia.
"It's already behind me," Downs said in a near-empty clubhouse, long after the game. "It was behind me until y'all came up to me to talk about it."
The Angels built a 5-2 lead on the strength of Mark Trumbo's prodigious three-run homer over the bullpen in left-center in the seventh and doubles by Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the eighth.
Trumbo's shot, which erased a 2-1 deficit and was estimated at 435 feet, was his 23rd of the season and gave him homers in five straight games against the Yankees. It marked the 15th time one of his homers tied a game or gave the Angels a lead.
But Downs got into trouble in the eighth when Derek Jeter led off with a double and Curtis Granderson walked. Teixeira, who hit a two-run homer off Wilson in the third, yanked a hanging curve over the left-field wall for a 5-5 tie.
Downs retired Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano but walked Nick Swisher. With Jepsen pitching, pinch-runner Dewayne Wise stole second. Raul Ibanez was intentionally walked, and Martin, who entered with a .179 average, hit a broken-bat RBI single to right for a 6-5 lead.
As steady as Downs and Frieri have been, "They're not machines, there are going to be games when they struggle," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Since that first month, we've been as good as anyone at holding leads. This one got away."
Trumbo said the loss would be "tough to stomach," but he remained confident in the bullpen. "This was one of those anomalies you won't see again for a long time," he said.
Erick Aybar hit a solo homer in the third, and Trout, in his first game in Yankee Stadium, had two hits and two stolen bases to raise his American League-leading average to .344.
There was such a huge media demand for Trout, the 20-year-old phenom, that he held a pre-series news conference Friday afternoon.
"That was pretty surreal," said Trout, who grew up in Millville, N.J. "I'm just trying to have fun with it, stay humble."