The Angels' Vladimir Guerrero wiped all that out with one swing
Thursday night, rallying Los Angeles to a 6-5 victory with a grand
"Coming from behind, being 2-for-30, that makes it really
good," Guerrero said through a translator.
The 2004 AL MVP broke out of his recent slump in dramatic
fashion, driving the ball over the wall in center field to greet
Tom Gordon, the Yankees' third reliever of the seventh inning.
"Once I hit it, I thought it was going to go out," said
Guerrero, who hesitated as he watched the flight of the ball.
"Then I saw Bernie Williams go back and camp out, and I thought
I'd better start really running."
The ball cleared the fence with several feet to spare.
Yankees manager Joe Torre pulled Johnson after the sixth because
Johnson seemed to be favoring his back and he didn't want to take
any chances with his ace.
"Hopefully, he should be ready for his next start," Torre
Johnson sounded as if he will.
"I kind of dragged my foot and I think my momentum just kind of
put a lot more of my body weight on my right side and I felt my
back tweak a little bit," he said. "But I've done it before, so
I'll be fine. I can touch my toes now and I'll touch my toes
The Angels' Bartolo Colon (12-6) had given up four homers and
five runs, so he was especially happy to see Guerrero bring Los
Angeles back from a 5-2 deficit.
"I actually jumped up in the dugout when he hit it," Colon
said through a translator. "I said, 'Thank you, Vlade. Now I'll
give it to the bullpen.' "
Gordon (3-4) said he threw his cut fastball essentially where he
wanted, and Guerrero still pounded it.
"The ball was down, but he was able to get the ball in the air
and drive it. There aren't too many guys who can hit that pitch out
of the ballpark," Gordon said.
Guerrero's 17th homer, only his fifth hit in 45 at-bats, came
after Johnson held the Angels to two runs on four hits before
leaving after the sixth inning of what was his 500th career start.
Giambi hit a pair of solo homers for the second time in as many
nights, with two in an 8-4 win at Texas on Wednesday.
He has hit 15 home runs this season, 10 this month.
Rodriguez hit his AL-leading 27th homer, and Matsui hit his
Colon allowed the five runs on eight hits in seven innings and
struck out three.
Scot Shields pitched the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez came on for
the ninth and gave up a leadoff double to Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod
advanced to third on Matsui's flyball, but Rodriguez got his 22nd
save in 24 chances by striking out Giambi and -- after walking
Bernie Williams -- getting pinch-hitter Jorge Posada to ground out
Gordon was charged with run on two hits in two-thirds of an
The Yankees went up 5-2 on homers by Matsui and Giambi in the
seventh after Giambi homered in the fourth.
Los Angeles had closed to 3-2 on Garret Anderson's RBI single in
the sixth inning.
The Angels got their first hit -- and first run -- off Johnson in
the fourth inning. Johnson hit Darin Erstad with a pitch leading
off the inning. One out later, Anderson singled to move Erstad to
third, then Bengie Molina followed with a sacrifice fly.
John Flaherty has caught eight of Johnson's last nine
starts. The Big Unit is 5-0 with a 2.95 ERA in those eight games.
Posada caught the other game during that stretch, and Johnson gave
up seven runs over three innings. ...The sellout crowd of 44,109
put the Angels at 2,042,849 this season, making them the second
team this season -- behind the Yankees -- to top the two million mark
in home attendance. ... Cano's RBI single in the opening inning
extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... It was only the second
time in 20 starts this season that Colon has allowed more than two
homers. The Yankees hit three against him on April 26 in a 12-4
victory at New York.