Jerome Williams reacts after giving up a home run to Curtis Granderson in… (Mike Stobe / Getty Images )
NEW YORK — On the plus side, Jerome Williams did not end up in the emergency room after Saturday's game against the New York Yankees, like he did after his previous start, against San Francisco on June 18. So, the Angels right-hander had that going for him.
Otherwise, it was a rather nondescript afternoon for Williams, who was neither very good nor very bad in a 5-3 loss in Yankee Stadium, the Angels' 17th loss in their last 22 games in the Bronx.
Williams gave up only seven hits in six innings, but two of those left the yard, Robinson Cano's two-run home run to left field in the first inning and Curtis Granderson's two-run shot to deep right field in the third.
"Jerome, though he gave up a couple of home runs, pitched a lot better than his line score showed," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He had good stuff. He made a couple of mistakes, one a changeup to Cano and one a curve to Granderson, and those guys hit the ball out of the park."
There's not much shame in that. The American League East-leading Yankees lead the major leagues with 138 home runs, and of the 423 runs they've scored, 218, or 51.5%, have come on home runs.
"If you pitch tentatively and away from your strengths because you're worried about some power a team might have, then it starts going in the wrong direction very quickly," Scioscia said. "But I don't think Jerome did that."
Williams (6-6) has been out for nearly a month after a respiratory problem caused by asthma and exacerbated by anxiety sent him to a hospital and then to the disabled list in June. He experienced no breathing problems Saturday.
"I felt normal, everything was fine," Williams said. "I'm trying to get past that now and concentrate on making pitches."
Whatever contributions the Angels get from starting pitchers not named Jered Weaver or C.J. Wilson will be greatly welcomed. The team has not had a quality start from any other pitcher since June 24, and the rest of the rotation has a combined 10.40 earned-run average in 15 games since then. Dan Haren's lower-back injury and Ervin Santana's struggles have put a major drag on the staff.
"You guys ask a lot about our offense, but the reality of the last few weeks has been the inconsistency of our starting pitching," Scioscia said. "But of all the things on our team, that has the potential to improve quicker than a lot of other things on a club. And it doesn't necessarily mean with different people, just good arms we have here getting back to pitching the way they can."
Outside of Mike Trout, who had three hits and two stolen bases, the Angels didn't generate much offense against Yankees starter Freddy Garcia (three runs, five hits in five innings) and relievers Cody Eppley, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano (22nd save).
Trout, who leads the AL with a .348 average and 30 stolen bases, including 21 in a row, and Erick Aybar each singled in the first inning and scored on Alberto Callaspo's two-out, two-run single. Howie Kendrick walked and scored on Bobby Wilson's groundout in the fourth.
But Cano followed Derek Jeter's infield single in the first inning with his 21st home run, which bounced off the top of the left-field wall and over, and Granderson followed Chris Stewart's single in the third with his team-leading 24th home run. New York got a run in the sixth when Alex Rodriguez doubled and scored on Cano's single.