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Officially a slump: Angels take care of A-Rod, Yankees

ANAHEIM, Calif. (ESPN.com news services) -- The Yankees came into Angel Stadium for a
weekend series, hoping to do some severe damage to Los Angeles'
playoff hopes. So far, the Angels are continuing to play well
against New York.

Rookie Howie Kendrick went 4-for-4 with a tiebreaking homer,
Garret Anderson homered and drove in four runs and the Los Angeles
Angels beat slumping Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees 12-7 in a testy
matchup Saturday.

"I think it's mechanical," Rodriguez told The New York Times. "I've just got to slow down a little bit at the plate. I'm just going a little bit too fast."

The Angels, trying to stay close in a bid for their third
straight AL West title, improved to 55-51 against New York since
Joe Torre became its manager in 1996. They are the only team to
hold an edge over the Yankees in that span, and also have beaten
them in two playoff series.

"We might have won a couple more games over the years, but I
think 'equally matched' is probably a good term to use," Angels
manager Mike Scioscia said. "I mean, I'd hate to play them 162
times, but we've held our own against them. Anytime you have a
bullpen like that and some guys who can swing the bats, you're
going to hold your own with a lot of clubs."

Ervin Santana (13-6) allowed five runs and seven hits over 6 1/3
innings, good enough to help send the Yankees to their fourth loss
in five games following their draining five-game sweep at Boston.
Torre expressed concern when the series began about whether his
team could maintain that intense level of play during this six-game
West Coast trip. Now, he's got to worry about A-Rod.

"What can you do?" Torre told the Times. "You don't remake Alex Rodriguez. With the history of what he's done, certainly there's not a need for that. Human beings play this game, and certain things you can't explain, other than to say he's human."

Derek Jeter thinks everyone should contribute.

"It's always difficult over 162 games, but at this time of year
it shouldn't be difficult," he said. "I'm talking about
getting up for games and being ready to go every day. That
shouldn't be an issue now. It is natural to have some sort of a
letdown, but I don't think that's the reason why we've been getting
beat.

"We've been playing good, but we've just been getting beat.
It's not like we gave them anything. Anaheim always plays us tough,
so it's not like we're going through the motions."

The Angels and Yankees drew warnings from plate umpire Tim
McClelland after a flurry of brushback pitches and hit batsmen in
the middle innings. Both teams were perched on the top step of
their dugouts after that, and there were no more incidents.

The trouble began after Jeter was hit by a pitch above the left
arm in the fifth, the second straight day he was plunked. In the
bottom half, Bruney sent Vladimir Guerrero bailing out of the
batter's box with an up-and-in pitch. One out later, Bruney threw a
pitch behind Rivera.

"Everybody needs to be protected," Bruney said. "These guys
go to war for us every day, so you've got to protect every one of
your guys. Obviously he was upset, but that's baseball."

Rivera took offense and glared at Bruney, who was called up from
the minors Wednesday when Mike Mussina went on the disabled list.
Catcher Sal Fasano and McClelland calmed down Rivera, and both
sides were warned.

"Sal Fasano told me it was all related to Derek Jeter," Rivera
said through an interpreter. "I told Fasano, 'It's not like Ervin
Santana was trying to hit Derek Jeter.'"

Torre tweaked his batting order, putting Rodriguez in the second
spot for the first time this season. The two-time MVP went 0-for-5
and struck out three times; the previous night, Rodriguez was
0-for-5 and fanned four times in a 6-5 loss.

"It's just changing the furniture around," Torre told the Times. "It may give him a little feel of, 'Let's start something here,' because that's what we need. We need him not only in the lineup. We need him to produce."

Rodriguez has struck out 13 times in his last 23 at-bats. When
asked if A-Rod would be in the two hole on Sunday, Torre said, "I
don't know what I'm going to do. I'll probably come up with another
brainstorm."

Francisco Rodriguez got four outs for his 36th save after Scot
Shields gave up two-run homer by Johnny Damon in the eighth. Melky
Cabrera flied out to the warning track with the bases loaded to end
the game.

Guerrero got three hits for the second straight game and drove
in two runs. His RBI triple triggered a three-run seventh that gave
the Angels a 9-5 lead. Rivera added an RBI double during a
three-run eighth -- and clapped his hands while running toward first
base.

Anderson put the Angels ahead 3-1 in the third with his 13th
homer, off Cory Lidle. The right-hander allowed five runs and nine
hits over 3 2-3 innings, and was the second straight Yankees
starter who failed to get through the fourth inning following Randy
Johnson's complete-game loss at Seattle on Thursday night.

Yankees slugger Jason Giambi, who hit a two-run double in the
fifth, left for a pinch-hitter in the seventh because of cramping
in both hands and was given fluids intravenously in the clubhouse.

"He was cramped up in his legs, his arms and his legs -- the
whole nine yards. He was a mummy down there," Torre said.

Giambi said: "I had a couple I.V.'s. My body just quit. Maybe dehydration, tired, my body's beat up. I feel a little bit better. From being tense, I just was locked up."

Game notes
Famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden visited Torre in
the clubhouse before the game. ... Time was called one pitch into
Robinson Cano's at-bat in the fifth, and someone from the Yankees
dugout brought him something to drink. Turns out Cano had a
sunflower seed stuck in his throat. ... Torre said he doesn't
expect to use eight-time All-Star closer Mariano Rivera for more
than one inning in any game the rest of the way.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.