ANAHEIM, Calif. >> Manager Aaron Boone had no real problem with the way his New York Yankees executed on the double steal by the Angels that ended with Shohei Ohtani sliding safely into home.
In fact, Boone and the Yankees still seem confident in just about everything they’re doing despite a losing streak that’s threatening to end their AL East hopes before September even gets rolling.
Ohtani stole home, Jared Walsh hit a three-run homer and the Los Angeles Angels hung on late to send the Yankees to their fourth straight loss, 6-4 Tuesday night.
Anthony Rizzo and Gary Sánchez homered for the Yankees, whose skid following their 13-game winning streak continued despite 10 hits at Angel Stadium. The Yankees couldn’t catch up after the Angels went ahead 6-2 by executing their second double steal of the night involving Ohtani, who slid home after Phil Gosselin stole second.
“I was fine with (Sánchez) throwing,” Boone said. “If we play really good catch in that situation, it’s probably boom-boom.”
Aaron Judge had an RBI single and Giancarlo Stanton added a sacrifice fly in the eighth, but New York (76-56) dropped eight games behind Tampa Bay (84-48) in the AL East standings. New York’s four losses have been by a combined six runs, suggesting the Yankees aren’t too far off their previous form — but that’s little comfort with the Rays pulling away.
“Losing four in a row is obviously very frustrating, and just unacceptable,” Brett Gardner said. “We’ve obviously been playing very good baseball for a while now. We’ve been in the games and had opportunities to change the outcome, and just haven’t been able to. Even though we’ve lost four in a row, we’ve won 13 of 17. That’s how I choose to look at it.”
New York also hit into five double plays, the most turned by the Angels since April 25, 2013, and the most at home since July 18, 2006. The Yankees only hit into four double plays during their entire 13-game winning streak.
“We’ve lost some razor-thin games,” Boone said. “Tonight was a story of five double plays really hurting us. I thought we were having a lot of good at-bats all night. It’s a game we probably feel like we should have broken open, and we didn’t.”
Jameson Taillon (8-5) took his first loss in 16 starts since May 31 for the Yankees, allowing six runs on five hits and two walks.
The Angels won the series and their third straight game overall with relief pitching and defense — two facets of their game that have been decided weaknesses this season. Second baseman David Fletcher was singled out by both teams for his stellar work in the field.
“That was a virtuoso performance at second base,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I’m here to tell you that is the Gold Glove winner right there. If you have any doubt about that, anybody, just watch the video tonight.”
Gosselin had a two-run single for the Angels before their troublesome bullpen came through. Jake Petricka got two big strikeouts to strand two Yankees in the eighth, and Raisel Iglesias pitched a perfect ninth for his 29th save, disappointing the thousands of vocal Yankees fans at the Big A.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Walsh, who hit his third homer in six games after a monthlong power drought. “Pretty intense atmosphere. These games are really going down to the wire against a really good team. We’ve got a ton of fans in the stands. Really enjoy playing in front of these crowds like this. Hope it continues.”
Jimmy Herget (1-1) got the win in his Angels debut with 1 2/3 innings of one-hit relief.
Rizzo’s homer leading off the fourth inning was only his fourth for the Yankees, but it ended a 13-game homer drought since Aug. 4 during which he batted .167. Sánchez’s solo shot in the fifth was the first homer in 21 games since July 20.
Ohtani is tied for sixth in the majors with 22 steals, and he has 51 in his four-year career. Only four Japanese-born major leaguers — Ichiro Suzuki, Dave Roberts, Kazuo Matsui and Nori Aoki — have ever swiped more bags than the 6-foot-4 Ohtani.
Yankees: SS Gleyber Torres (sprained thumb) joined Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to continue his rehab. He is expected to be back with New York after this road trip.
Angels: RHP Alex Cobb (wrist) felt good after his second bullpen session Monday. The team hasn’t decided how quickly his rehab will move.
Gerrit Cole (13-6, 2.80 ERA) pitches in his native Orange County for the first time since choosing the Yankees and their lavish $324 million deal over his hometown Angels in free agency nearly two years ago. He is 3-0 in four career starts at the Big A, where his family had season tickets. He faces Packy Naughton (0-0, 1.69), who will make his first major league start.