Lackey probably deserves a save

Times Staff Writer

The Yankees had a 3-1 lead and runners on second and third with one out in the seventh inning Saturday when Angels Manager Mike Scioscia came to the mound for a chat with John Lackey.

“He wanted to look me in the eyes to see if I was ready to go,” Lackey said. “When a manager leaves you in the game in a tough situation like that, it gives you confidence. You want to make him look good.”

Lackey did just that, getting Bobby Abreu to ground to second baseman Howie Kendrick, who threw out Melky Cabrera at home, and striking out Alex Rodriguez to end the inning. Rodriguez and Jason Giambi had homered off Lackey in the sixth.

The Angels tied the score in the bottom of the seventh and won it with an eight-run eighth.


“What John did to minimize damage in the seventh was as big as the home runs we hit to tie it,” Scioscia said. “That gave us a chance to do what we did.”

Catch of the day

Catcher Mike Napoli, in his first game since July 5, reached base in all four plate appearances, hitting a tying home run off reliever Jose Veras in the seventh and singling during the Angels’ eighth-run eighth.

“That was a great at-bat against Veras -- that changed the complexion of the game,” Scioscia said.


Napoli, who was sidelined because of a right shoulder irritation, was hit in the palm of his right hand by a foul tip in the seventh inning but remained in the game.

Technical knockout

The cumulative effects of two mild concussions in six days and the fear of a possible serious injury led the Angels to put outfielder Reggie Willits on the 15-day disabled list Saturday.

“There is a concern that if it happened again now, it would sideline Reggie for a long time,” Scioscia said.


Willits took a blow to the left side of the head in an outfield collision with Gary Matthews Jr. in New York on Aug. 3. Friday night, he took an elbow to the same spot in a home-plate collision with Yankees reliever Brian Bruney.

Willits was replaced on the roster by utility man Sean Rodriguez.

Career year

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has played 161 games against the Angels, essentially a full season.


His sixth-inning homer off Lackey gave him 61 career homers, 137 runs batted in, 206 hits and 143 runs against the Angels, leading all active major leaguers in hits, runs, homers and RBIs against them.

Parting shot

Joe Girardi wasn’t thrilled with a radio reporter who, after Saturday’s game, asked the Yankees manager what he was thinking as he watched the Angels’ eight-run eighth.

“What do you think?” Girardi snapped. “You think it’s fun watching that? That’s a silly question.”