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Brown pitches better, but still loses

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kevin Brown looked much better. The rest of the
New York Yankees did not.

John Lackey combined with four relievers to shut down the
all-or-nothing Yankees, and the Los Angeles Angels got RBI singles
from Vladimir Guerrero and Darin Erstad in a 3-1 victory Thursday
night.

The Angels took two of three at Yankee Stadium, assuring New
York (9-13) of its first losing month since it was 11-17 in May
2003.

"A lot of guys in this room have rings and we think we can play
with anybody," Lackey said.

After Alex Rodriguez's huge night in a 12-4 victory Tuesday, the
Yankees managed just one run in each of the last two games and
dropped their second consecutive series at home. New York's
star-studded lineup has scored two runs or fewer seven times this
season.

"We couldn't come up with the big hit," Derek Jeter said. "We
have spurts where we swing the bats well, just have not done it
consistently."

Brown (0-3) lost his sixth straight start dating to last season
-- but he was New York's lone bright spot. After altering his
pregame warmup routine, he allowed three runs and eight hits in
seven innings, retiring his final 11 batters.

But in typical fashion, Brown was far from satisfied.

"I wouldn't say my stuff was any better," he said. "I
wouldn't say I was much sharper or had that much more movement."

The right-hander hasn't won since Aug. 28, 2004, in Toronto, and
his six-game losing streak matches the longest of his career.

"A couple of groundballs really beat me," Brown said. "I'm
going to keep working and find a way to be a little bit better."

Lackey (2-1) lasted only 5 1-3 innings because he threw 111
pitches, but he was effective. He gave up only Hideki Matsui's RBI
double, then turned it over to Los Angeles' outstanding bullpen.

"You can't ever argue going to our bullpen. Those guys are
great," Lackey said.

Jake Woods, Brendan Donnelly and Scot Shields combined for 2 2-3
scoreless innings before Francisco Rodriguez struck out two in a
perfect ninth for his fifth save in six chances.

The Angels' bullpen has allowed only four earned runs in its
last 39 2-3 innings.

"We have a core that has been together for several years now.
We're all friends, we all compete against each other down there.
The bullpen is almost a team within a team," Donnelly said.
"We're like our own little family down there and I guess the
results show on the field."

The Yankees stranded 10 and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring
position.

Chone Figgins used his speed to spark a two-run third inning for
the Angels. He singled and stole second, then took off for third on
the next pitch as Guerrero bounced a perfectly placed RBI single
past Rodriguez, who had vacated his position to cover the bag.

"This team just keeps scrapping," Steve Finley said. "I love
it. It's like National League style."

Garret Anderson followed with a double to right, and Gary
Sheffield bobbled the ball before throwing to second base. But
nobody was there -- Jeter had dashed to the right side to cut off a
possible throw to the plate.

When Sheffield's toss went rolling through the infield, Guerrero
broke for home and scored easily as the crowd of 51,951 groaned at
New York's embarrassing mistake.

"That's the kind of thing you work on in spring training,
cutoffs and that kind of thing. He just threw to the wrong base,"
Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Erstad's run-scoring single in the fourth made it 3-0. Matsui
put the Yankees on the board with a two-out RBI double in the
fifth.

Game notes
The Angels are 8-4 at Yankee Stadium in the past 12 games
and 25-19 in the Bronx since 1996, the best record in the majors
during that stretch. ... The Yankees have had a losing record in
only five of 55 full months since 1996. ... Bubba Crosby started in
CF for New York to give Bernie Williams a rest and went 0-for-1
with a walk. Williams pinch-hit in the sixth and finished 0-for-2.
... Jason Giambi grounded a single to left against an overshifted
infield in the fourth. ... Lackey improved to 2-5 lifetime against
the Yankees. ... It was the Angels' 100th victory at Yankee
Stadium.