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Kendrick keys Angels' 6-2 win over Yankees
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Howie Kendrick either can't or won't explain it. Either way, he has been one of the hottest hitters in the big leagues for the past month, and his three hits Saturday afternoon at Angel Stadium helped lift the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-2 win over the New York Yankees.
Kendrick had plenty of help, as the Angels finished with 12 hits, got a strong performance on the mound from both starter Tommy Hanson and the bullpen, and sent the Yankees to their fifth loss in a row.
Kendrick has raised his average from .275 on May 13 to .336 on Saturday, when he had three singles and a bases-loaded walk. In his last 29 games, Kendrick is hitting .418 (46-for-110), but he's not letting anybody in on his secret.
"I just try to see the ball and hit it, that's it," Kendrick said. "I'm not trying to do anything else -- just see it and hit it, that's all I can tell you."
The Angels' lineup is deeper with Kendrick, lately hitting in the fifth spot, being productive.
"Howie's really comfortable in the batter's box, and I think he's been that way for over a month," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's in a good spot, we're setting the table for him, and he's swinging the bat as well as we've seen him."
The Angels' offense put continuous pressure on Yankees pitchers, putting at least one runner on base in every inning but the fifth. Erick Aybar chipped in with a home run and an RBI single, and both Peter Bourjos and Albert Pujols had two hits.
"A lot of guys are really swinging the bat well," Kendrick said. "One through nine, there's different guys every day doing it. It makes for good chemistry, and our pitchers have been doing well, giving us opportunities to win games, and we've come up with big hits in key situations."
Hanson (4-2) was steady throughout, never getting into any serious trouble other than in the third inning when he gave up an RBI triple to Brett Gardner and an RBI single to Jayson Nix. Hanson gave up those two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings, and he got a big boost from the bullpen in the seventh with the game on the line.
The Angels led 3-2 when Hanson gave up a leadoff single to Ichiro Suzuki, who then stole both second and third. Hanson struck out Thomas Neal for the first out then was replaced by Scott Downs, who struck out Reid Brignac for the second out. Then Scioscia went to Michael Kohn, who struck out Chris Stewart to end the inning with the lead intact.
"Outstanding," Hanson said when asked about the job of the bullpen. "For them to come in, two strikeouts like it was no big deal, was huge for our team."
The Angels added two runs in the bottom of the seventh and another in the eighth to give themselves a cushion.
Yankees starter David Phelps (4-4) gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings to get the loss. The Yankees totaled just five hits, two of them by Suzuki.
The Yankees may have lost more than a game as first baseman Mark Teixeira had to leave in the fourth inning with a sore right wrist, the same wrist that was injured during the spring and caused him to miss the first two months of the season.
"I just think that he doesn't feel that he has the whip that he normally has hitting left-handed," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He came to us after the second at-bat and said there's not a lot of strength there. I've always said that wrist is tricky. I'm always worried when people have wrist problems or back problems. I'm concerned."
Teixeira was sent home to New York and will be examined Sunday by the team physician.
NOTES: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez ran the bases at 75 percent on Saturday as part of his rehab routine and felt fine afterward, according to Girardi. Rodriguez, who had surgery on his left hip in January, is hoping to return to the roster after the All-Star break. ... Angels RHP Ernesto Frieri has held left-handed hitters to a .094 (5-for-53) batting average, best among all relievers in the majors. However, three of the five hits by lefties have been home runs. ... Angels 1B Mark Trumbo is hitting .361 (26-for-72) with seven homers and 13 RBIs in 19 career games against the Yankees. The .361 average is his best against any American League team. ... Gardner leads the American League with RBIs (28) and extra-base hits (25) from the leadoff spot. He has scored at least one run in 20 of his last 29 starts. ... Yankees LF Vernon Wells got a day off.