ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Luis Cessa stood in the dugout before his first major league start with nerves building as each minute passed. A pregame ceremony ran long, and anticipation built for his first-inning showdowns with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.
By the time he released his first pitch, he was at ease.
Cessa pitched six scoreless innings to win his first start and help the New York Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-1 on Saturday night.
“You always worry about how kids are going to react,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “You wonder how he’s going to react to that, waiting and waiting and he can’t wait to get out there. But I thought he handled that really well.”
Brian McCann went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run, Starlin Castro went 2 for 4 with two runs and Aaron Judge drove in two. Gary Sanchez hit his fifth home run in six games in the first inning, a two-out solo homer to left field.
Pujols got his 583rd home run in the ninth inning, tying him with former St. Louis Cardinals teammate Mark McGwire for 10th on the career list.
“I think it would have been a little bit more special if we had won,” Pujols said. “But to tie with Mark is very special because he’s a very close friend of mine. We stay in touch and he’s a guy that always helps me out whenever I go through a slump and a guy that mentored me.”
Pujols already had a congratulatory text from McGwire and one of his sons waiting for him after the game.
“He was always pulling for me from day one,” Pujols said. “The whole reason I’m in the big leagues is because when he was in St. Louis he told (former manager Tony LaRussa), `You need to take this kid.”‘
Cessa (3-0) struck out five and walked one. He struggled just twice, giving up back-to-back two-out singles in the third and hitting Trout in the sixth. An early 3-0 lead further relaxed Cessa.
“I was more aggressive,” Cessa said. “I could throw more fastballs and be more aggressive with everyone.”
After giving up a single to Jefry Marte in the seventh, Cessa was relieved by Tyler Clippard, who nearly gave up a home run to C.J. Cron, but Brett Gardner dived into the stands in left to make the out.
“Right off the bat, I thought it was a home run,” Girardi said. “And then he got closer and closer and I thought, `Maybe, maybe. Stay in here, stay in here.’ Outstanding catch. That was a big out.”
After giving up three earned runs in the first inning, Ricky Nolasco (4-11) settled in to cruise through the next five. But with two outs in the sixth, Nolasco gave up back-to-back singles to Castro and McCann. With Judge batting, McCann stole second base — his first steal of the year — allowing both runners to score on Judge’s single to center.
Nolasco gave up five earned on seven hits with seven strikeouts and still hasn’t won at home since May 25, 2015, as a member of the Minnesota Twins. His 15-game home winless streak is the longest active streak in baseball.
Garret Anderson was inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame on Saturday. Anderson spoke during a pregame on-field ceremony that included speeches and videos from former teammates, including Tim Salmon and Chili Davis.
One of the most productive offensive players in club history, Anderson is still the Angels’ leader in games played, at-bats, runs, hits, total bases, extra-base hits, doubles and RBI. Anderson spent 15 of his 17 major league seasons with Los Angeles and is best known for his bases-clearing three-run double that helped the Angels clinch Game 7 of the 2002 World Series.
Yankees: 3B Chase Headley was out of the lineup for the second day with left Achilles tendinitis. Although Headley has been playing on it, he said he’s been having problems for about a week.
Angels: 3B Yunel Escobar was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list after taking a foul ball off of his face on Friday night. Kaleb Cowart was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to take his place on the roster.
… RHP Cam Bedrosian hasn’t thrown for two straight days. Manager Mike Scioscia said he’s in a “holding pattern.” Bedrosian was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 9, with right middle finger tendinitis.
Yankees: RHP Chad Green will make his sixth major league start in the series finale. Green struck out a career-high 11 in his start against Toronto and is 2-2 with a 4.05 ERA in his fifth stint with the Yankees this
Angels: RHP Jhoulys Chacin lasted only 4 2/3 innings in his last start on Tuesday against Seattle, but didn’t factor into the decision. In his only start against the Yankees, Chacin allowed five earned runs on seven
hits and took the loss.
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