ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Adam Kennedy had only two previous career
at-bats against Randy Johnson, and the Big Unit had not allowed an
RBI to a left-handed batter in 60 consecutive at-bats over his
previous 14 regular-season starts.
Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia started Kennedy anyway
-- not for his bat, but for his glove -- and got significant results
Kennedy hit a tiebreaking two-run triple and made a critical
defensive play in the ninth, leading the Angels to a 3-2 victory
over the New York Yankees on Saturday night and sending Johnson to
his first loss of the season.
"I wouldn't say it surprised me, but you have to stay ready,"
said Kennedy, the Angels' second baseman and No. 9 hitter. "On
nights like this when you get the opportunity, you want to be
ready. Sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn't."
Jason Giambi led off the Yankees' ninth and Scioscia ordered the
shift against the dead-pull hitter, with Kennedy stationed about 20
feet into the outfield grass. Giambi lined a one-hopper to Kennedy,
who threw him out and deprived him of a certain base hit. The next
batter, Hideki Matsui, homered off closer Francisco Rodriguez and
New York came up a run short.
"They've got a lot of left-handed hitters over there, so we
wanted to make sure we had a presence there on the right side of
the infield," Scioscia said. "We need to keep defensive
continuity if we're going to win, and Adam was in there for
right-side defense. Adam's a terrific defensive second baseman.
That's why he was out there tonight -- and he ends up winning the
game with his bat."
"I had seen a good number of pitches in my previous at-bat, so
I had a little bit of a gauge on how his fastball was working,"
Kennedy said. "I just wanted to put a good swing on it and not try
to do too much, and I was fortunate enough to find a hole."
The last time Johnson and Santana pitched in the same game was
back on Oct. 10, when both worked in relief in the finale of the AL
division series. Santana, who was bumped to the bullpen because the
Angels went with a four-man rotation in the postseason, pitched 5
1-3 innings for the series-clinching victory in his postseason
debut after Bartolo Colon left in the second inning with an injured
In the rematch, Santana allowed two hits and three walks while
striking out one. The 23-year-old Dominican right-hander was lifted
after walking Giambi on a borderline 3-2 pitch with two out and
runners at second and third. The walk came one out after Santana
was hit on the inside of the left knee by a line drive single off
the bat of Gary Sheffield.
J.C. Romero retired all four batters he faced, Scot Shields
pitched a scoreless eighth and Rodriguez got three outs for his
third save. The right-hander converted his 21st straight save
opportunity to break the club record set by Troy Percival in 2003.
Johnson (1-1) went the distance, throwing 97 pitches over eight
innings and allowing seven hits. He struck out eight and walked
"It was a pleasant surprise to throw as many strikes as I
did," said the five-time Cy Young winner, who threw 69 of his 103
pitches for strikes. "I threw all my pitches and had some fun out
there. I got in a little jam in the fifth inning, got behind a
couple of hitters and they got base hits. I didn't make my pitch to
Kennedy, and that was the ballgame right there."
Johnson went to the mound with a 1-0 lead after Jeter drove a
2-2 pitch to left-center for his first homer of the season. But the
left-hander gave the run right back on an RBI single to right field
by Vladimir Guerrero.
Santana is 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA in four regular-season starts
against New York. Last July, he became only the third rookie
pitcher over the past 20 years to beat the Yankees twice in one
week, along with Boston's Brian Rose (1999) and Texas' Kevin Brown
The Yankees designated C Wil Nieves for assignment to make
room on the 25-man roster for C Koyie Hill, who was claimed off
waivers from Arizona on Thursday. ... Alex Rodriguez, who said he
"played like a dog the last five days" after going 2-for-15 with
no RBI in the playoff series against the Angels, finished 0-for-3
with a walk. ... Colon was presented with his 2005 Cy Young award
at home plate before the game, moments after Guerrero received his
Silver Slugger award for having the highest batting average among
right fielders. ... Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who entered this
season with an AL-record 379 career saves, has yet to pitch through
the season's first five games.