The Yankees looked like they might have something going against Jon Garland early in last night's game. Johnny Damon led off with a single up the middle. Derek Jeter followed with a walk. After Bobby Abreu ground into a fielder's choice, Alex Rodriguez dropped an opposite-field flare in front of Vlad Guerrero to plate Damon. Jason Giambi got ahead of Garland 3-1, but the Angels starter came back to strike him out on a called strike down and in for the second out. Xavier Nady reached on a Baltimore chop to loaded the bases, but Garland got Hideki Matsui to ground out weakly to strand all three runners.
That was all the Yankees would get. After Robinson Cano led off the second with a single, Garland retired 12 men in a row, taking him through the fifth. Meanwhile, the Angels tied the game on a manufactured run in the bottom of the first when Chone Figgins singled, stole second, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on a sac fly. They then took the lead in the third when infield prospect Brandon Wood led off with a solo homer off Carl Pavano.
The Yankees finally got back on base against Garland in the sixth when Bobby Abreu led off with a four-pitch walk, but Alex Rodriguez erased Abreu with a 6-4-3 double play. Jason Giambi tried to reboot the inning with a ground-rule double, but Xavier Nady grounded out on the first pitch he saw to end the inning.
Then the roof fell in. Rookie second baseman Sean Rodriguez led off the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer off Pavano. A hit batsman, a single, and a groundout plated another run, ending Pavano's night after 75 pitches. Dan Giese came on, fell behind Vlad Guerrero 3-0, got two strikes on foul balls, then gave up a monster two-run jack that ran the score to 6-1.
Torii Hunter followed that homer with a single then stole second and third around a walk to Juan Rivera. When Mike Napoli grounded to third, Hunter broke for home, but he was out by a good 20 feet. Hunter slowed his momentum as he approached Rodriguez, who tagged him out while standing in front of the batting circle, but Hunter still dipped his shoulder a bit and made solid contact with the Yankee catcher. As he proceeded behind Rodriguez, Hunter slipped on Napoli's bat and bumped into Rodriguez's back. Rodriguez, already a bit miffed that Hunter didn't slow up even more than he did, answered back by elbowing the Angel center fielder out of his way as he walked the ball back toward the pitcher's mound. Hunter took offense to Rodriguez's elbow, ran up and shoved Rodriguez in the back igniting a bases-clearing scrum that saw little action, but got both players ejected.
Moments later back in the dugout, Yankee pitching coach Dave Eiland, who had been in the middle of the scrum, passed out and fell off the dugout bench. Eiland immediately regained consciousness and was able to walk back to the trainers room with the help of some of his players, but no one really knew why he had fainted. After Wood singled home two more runs to make it 8-1, Girardi went out to the mound to replace Giese with Edwar Ramirez and could be seen explaining to his players that Eiland just flopped over and that he had no idea why. Fortunately, after being examined by one of the Angels' doctors, Eiland was given a clean bill of health.
Said Girardi after the game, "He's been fighting a cold, and he worked out hard this morning, and I think last time he ate was 1:00, and he took some medicine during the game. He got lightheaded and dizzy and passed out, but he's okay now."
The Rodriguez/Hunter affair also had a happy ending, as the two apologized to one another and hugged it out after the game. Said Hunter of the incident, "The ghetto came out. I hate that."
That just left the Yankees to wallow in what swelled to a 12-1 humiliation at the hands of the Angels, who could clinch the AL West tonight with a win and a Rangers' loss. The Yankees are playing the role of jobber to the hilt.