NEW YORK (AP) - Josh Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels had their chance in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees and didn't have to face Mariano Rivera.
They still couldn't get it done.
David Robertson struck out the final two batters with the bases loaded to preserve Hiroki Kuroda's gem and give New York a 2-1 victory over the Angels on Monday night.
Garrett Richards pitched a career high-tying eight impressive innings to keep close with Kuroda, but the Angels couldn't make him a winner.
``Garrett was terrific,' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``I thought he had really good stuff: mixed in his breaking pitches with his fastball.'
Richards (3-5) was impressive in his first start at Yankee Stadium since his big league debut in 2011. He allowed seven hits in eight innings and made several nice plays on comebackers.
After the game, Scioscia said Tommy Hanson would be sent to the minors to make room for Jason Vargas, who is returning from surgery to remove a blood clot in the area of his left armpit. Hanson was 4-3 with a 5.59 ERA in 13 starts.
``I think it's best for Tommy and best for us right now. He definitely needs to figure some things out,' Scioscia said. ``I know Tommy will go down and take it in the right light and be a better pitcher when he comes back.'
Vargas is scheduled to start Tuesday against CC Sabathia.
Rivera was given the night off after blowing three straight save chances, including one Sunday. Fans chanted ``We want Mo!' after Boone Logan relieved to begin the ninth and allowed a leadoff single to J.B. Shuck that hit first base.
``Just a day,' Rivera said. ``Nothing's wrong.'
The 43-year-old Rivera tossed 81 pitches the last five days in blowing three consecutive saves, the roughest patch of his 19-year career. Rivera spoke with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and said he could pitch but preferred a day off.
``Mo's never going to back out on a situation. Never,' Girardi said. And that's where a pitching coach and a manager - you have to manage a player. Sometimes they just need a day no matter if they want to go out there a lot.'
The Angels got close after Logan struck out Kole Calhoun. Robertson walked Mike Trout, and Hamilton followed with a flare just beyond the reach of third baseman Alex Rodriguez for an RBI double.
Erick Aybar was intentionally walked to load the bases. Robertson then struck out Mark Trumbo and ex-Yankee Chris Nelson on a high, full-count pitch to end it for his first save this season.
``It's not as easy a situation as you think. You've got to keep your aggressiveness. You really don't want to be defensive in that situation,' Scioscia said. ``He laid off some close pitches to get to a 3-2 count, had a good at-bat going, and just expanded a little bit on a 3-2 pitch, and that happens. Give Robertson credit.'
Curtis Granderson homered in the seventh inning and Brett Gardner had an RBI single in the third.
The Yankees' most dependable starter, Kuroda has not allowed a run in five of his last seven outings to lower his ERA to 2.33. An Angels' lineup missing injured Albert Pujols reached base only four times against the Japanese right-hander. Kuroda struck out seven and walked one.
``I don't know if you can expect anyone to be that dominant in this day and age when there's a lot of ways teams can score runs, but he's just been brilliant,' Girardi said.
Granderson connected off Richards for his third homer of the season in his 59th at-bat of an injury-plagued season.
Rodriguez started at third base for the second straight day for the first time since returning from hip surgery last week. The fickle New York fans gave him a mixed reception when he came to the plate it in the first, and cheered when he singled. But the boos grew as he hit into two 6-4-3 double plays, one in the fourth and another in the sixth, the latter with runners on first and second and one out.
Batting .221 in his first year with Los Angeles, Hamilton doubled to open the second, but grounded into a double play after Trout had an infield hit leading off the seventh for the Angels' second hit.
``He kept us off balance,' Trout said of Kuroda. ``A lot of fastball counts, he threw off-speed and, like I said, kept us off balance.'
Rodriguez got New York's first hit, a leadoff single in the second but he was caught running on Lyle Overbay's strikeout to end a 10-pitch at-bat.
Eduardo Nunez singled with one out in the third, advanced on Chris Stewart's groundout and scored on Gardner's single.
NOTES: Trout's high school baseball field in New Jersey was dedicated in his honor earlier Monday in a ceremony at the Empire State Building. ... Yankees SS (right calf strain) Derek Jeter began ``tee and toss' today in the indoor cage. ... Trout appeared on a New York sports radio station earlier Monday and said PED users ``should be out of the game if you get caught.' When asked about his comments later in the Angels clubhouse, he referred all questions to the team's player rep, C.J. Wilson.
The Associated Press News Service
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