ANAHEIM, Calif. — Gary Sanchez returned from the injured list and hurt the Yankees. Tyler Wade’s unawareness of where the ball was deepened the pain.
Yet neither player killed the Yankees’ chances of beating the woeful Angels on Wednesday night. Sanchez striking out four times and committing a fielding error and Wade getting tagged out while shifting his weight from one leg to another at second base didn’t lead to the Yankees’ five-game winning streak being halted.
That’s because DJ LeMahieu’s two-out single that scored Wade from second in the ninth inning lifted the Yankees to a 6-5 victory in front of 37,928 at Angels Stadium.
Wade singled to right and stole second in front of LeMahieu’s soft single to right that easily scored Wade.
Aroldis Chapman recorded the final three outs for his fourth save in five chances.
The 14-10 Yankees have won six straight and eight of nine. And while late April isn’t the right time to track standings, the banged-up Yankees are 1½ lengths back of the AL East-leading Rays.
Aaron Boone’s face lit up talking about writing Sanchez’s name into the lineup for Wednesday night’s game at Angel Stadium, where CC Sabathia chased a huge pitching milestone.
“Obviously, really excited to get him back,’’ Boone said of Sanchez, who batted cleanup and struck out four times. “It was good to write his name in the lineup, no question. Looking forward to him getting back in the fray and help us to continue to win games.’’
Sanchez went 0-for-4 and helped kill a sixth-inning rally by striking out with two runners on in the fifth and one out. The Yankees plated two runs, but a hit by Brett Gardner, Sanchez or Gleyber Torres might have pulled the Yankees closer than 5-2.
Sabathia started the night six strikeouts away from 3,000, but left after five innings with three strikeouts. All that did was hike his career total to 2,997. In five innings Sabathia gave up three homers — two to Andrelton Simmons — and five runs.
A three-run seventh inning by the Yankees allowed Sabathia to spit out a loss. His next chance to become the 17th pitcher in baseball history and the third lefty with 3,000 strikeouts is next week against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
Sanchez had help letting Sabathia down with shaky defense. LeMahieu failed to field a one-hop smash by Jonathan Lucroy in the four-run fourth inning that would have led to a double play. Instead, Kole Calhoun followed with a three-run homer that put the Yankees in a 5-0 ditch.
Angels right-hander Luis Garcia replaced Felix Pena to start the seventh with a 5-2 lead that vanished thanks to RBIs by Wade, LeMahieu and Luke Voit.
After Brett Gardner’s fly to deep center was tracked down by Mike Trout, Wade raced back to second while the ball was returned to the infield. Simmons got the ball near second and with Wade shifting his feet the left foot lost contact with the base and Simmons tagged him. Simmons screamed for a review and it showed that Wade was ruled out and ended the inning.
The Yankees scored twice in the sixth, one run on a passed ball charged to Lucroy, but missed a chance to cut further into the Angels’ lead.
Wade opened the inning with a chop single to first and scored from there on LeMahieu’s double to left. Voit’s broken-bat single to center put runners at the corners for Gardner. Pena’s first three pitches were balls but at 3-2 Gardner popped up. Sanchez then whiffed for the third time in three at-bats and after the passed ball scored LeMahieu, Torres grounded out to end the inning.
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