NEW YORK (AP) - Mike Scioscia thought the sacrifice fly that ended up a double play was the turning point in the Angels' latest loss - well, that and how the Yankees teed off on the Los Angeles bullpen.
Chris Nelson was called out at third base for leaving early on a fly ball in the sixth inning, and Alfonso Soriano homered twice and drove in six runs to lead New York to a 14-7 victory over the Angels on Tuesday night.
``You can't really look at one play, but if we had tied it in the sixth, we would have had a little different lineup as far as our bullpen,' Scioscia said. ``The inning wouldn't have been over and we have J.B. (Shuck) up and with runners on first and second, and then Trout coming up, too. You don't have a crystal ball. If we had tied the game you have an opportunity to get some guys in who are able to hold leads.'
With New York leading 4-3 in the sixth, CC Sabathia walked the bases loaded. No. 9 batter Tommy Field then hit a liner to left field.
Soriano caught Field's fly and made a strong throw home that was offline. Catcher Austin Romine immediately threw to third base to retire Nelson for a double play, ending the inning. Scioscia spent several minutes pleading his case to plate umpire David Rackley to no avail.
``I thought I was off the base on time. It was frustrating. I know I tagged up and I held my position,' Nelson said. ``We had momentum heading into that play and it took that away from us.'
The Yankees then broke it open with four runs in the bottom half - capped by Alex Rodriguez's hard-hit double to left-center - to ease into their fourth win in five games.
Vernon Wells homered against his former team, and leadoff batter Eduardo Nunez drove in four runs as New York equaled its highest run total of the season. The second-worst, run-producing offense in the AL won by more than three runs for the first time in 26 games.
``It feels more like the old days,' said Soriano, who rejoined the Yankees in a trade with the Cubs on July 26 after playing for them from 1999-2003.
Mike Trout hit a three-run homer in the ninth, and slumping slugger Mark Trumbo connected in the first for Los Angeles, which has lost 13 of 18 even though the Angels led in 10 of those defeats.
Jason Vargas (6-5) gave up two homers in his first start since having surgery to remove a blood clot from near his left armpit on June 26, including Soriano's go-ahead two-run drive in the fifth.
``I thought his stuff looked good. I think he threw the ball a little better than maybe some things are going to show,' Scioscia said. ``He's building into a little bit of stamina and he'll be better next time.'
Before his start against Seattle on June 17, Vargas noticed temperature differences in his pitching hand. It was caused by circulation problems due to the clot.
In his only rehab start, Vargas gave up four runs in 4 2-3 innings for Triple-A Salt Lake last Thursday and wasn't much better against the Yankees.
He allowed eight hits and four runs, walked one and struck out three.
``I think my stuff was pretty much the same as before and I was able to use all of my pitches,' Vargas said. ``I made the one mistake to Soriano - a fastball inside that I wanted off the plate but I got too much of the plate. The game plan was to throw 75 to 85 pitches and I just wish I would have been able to go a little bit longer.'
Soriano singled in a run in the Yankees' four-run sixth that broke open a sloppy game, and hit a three-run shot off Joe Blanton in the seventh.
A quick rain storm chased the players off the field with one out in the top of the eighth. But that didn't slow the Yankees, who had a season-best 19 hits. Nunez had a two-run single before Soriano flied out to left with a shot for a third homer.
Repeatedly kicking at the dirt on the mound, Sabathia (10-10) allowed three runs in six-plus laborious innings in which he walked six, including one to force in a run - but yielded just three hits. Still, he reached 10 wins for the 13th time in a 13-year career.
The sloppy Yankees did everything they could to give Los Angeles the lead from the start.
With flags whipping in the wind overhead in the first, Wells overran Trout's two-out foul ball into the tight right field corner. One pitch later, Trout walked to bring up Trumbo.
Trumbo homered to left field for his second hit in 27 at_bats.
Wells connected an inning later.
The Angels opened a 3-1 lead in the third with help from fielding errors by third baseman Jayson Nix and another miscue by Nunez, who missed touching second base on a force play. The run scored when Nelson drew a bases-loaded walk.
NOTES: Yankees SS Derek Jeter fielded grounders and took batting practice on the field for first time since going on the DL on Aug. 5. He will go to the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., Thursday, and is eligible to return Sunday. ... Scioscia said OF Peter Bourjos (broken hand) isn't ready to return from the DL. ``He was not as crisp last night,' Scioscia said. Bourjos was 0 for 4 for Salt Lake on Monday night and is 4 for 21 overall on his rehab assignment.
The Associated Press News Service
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