AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Nelson hit his first two home runs of the season, including a grand slam against his former team, to send C.J. Wilson and the Los Angeles Angels past the New York Yankees 8-4 on Thursday.
Josh Hamilton and rookie J.B. Shuck each had an RBI single to help the struggling Angels prevent a four-game sweep. Wilson (13-6) won his fifth consecutive decision, keeping Alfonso Soriano in the ballpark after the streaking slugger piled up four homers and 13 RBIs the previous two nights.
Soriano extended his sensational tear, going 4 for 5 with an RBI single, but the Yankees managed little else until a three-run ninth as their four-game winning streak ended. After finishing a 5-2 homestand, they head to Fenway Park this weekend to face first-place Boston.
Nelson spent a couple of weeks with the Yankees in May, one of several replacements they tried at third base while Alex Rodriguez was recovering from hip surgery. A top-10 draft pick by Colorado in 2004, he didn’t leave much of an impression — until returning with Los Angeles.
Nelson hit a solo homer off Phil Hughes (4-12) to make it 3-1 in the fourth. He added his first career slam off Boone Logan in a five-run eighth for his first multihomer game in the majors. Mike Trout got the inning started by hustling for a pop-fly double that was misjudged by center fielder Brett Gardner.
The only time the Angels retired Soriano, it came on a nice play by Nelson at third. Shuck also threw out Soriano trying to stretch a single in the first.
Hughes dropped to 0-5 in his last seven starts. He has lost 10 of his last 12 decisions and is 1-9 this season at home, where he’s given up 17 of his 23 homers.
Wilson worked around 11 hits and threw a season-high 124 pitches in 6 2-3 innings while matching his win total from last year. The left-hander limited the Yankees to one run after they totaled 25 the previous two nights, improving to 9-1 with a 2.76 ERA in his last 12 starts.
The run began with a win over New York at home on June 14. He is 6-0 in his last seven road starts and 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees.
Wilson came in leading the majors with an average of 110.4 pitches per start and needed 71 to get through three innings. It could have been more, too, but he got Vernon Wells to ground into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded after first baseman Mark Trumbo botched a popup.
That was the turning point for Wilson, who held New York in check on 53 pitches over the next 3 2-3 innings.
Hughes had his best outing in more than a month, throwing 73 of 104 pitches for strikes over six solid innings. A brief hiccup put him behind in the fourth, and the Yankees never recovered.
Erick Aybar hit a leadoff double, advanced on a passed ball and scored on Hank Conger’s sacrifice fly. Nelson then fouled off four straight full-count pitches before sending an opposite-field drive into the right-center bullpen for his first home run since Sept. 14 with Colorado.
Hamilton’s two-out RBI single put Los Angeles up in the first after Shuck singled and stole second.
Moments later, Soriano socked a line drive off the left-field wall. But he jogged out of the box and was thrown out at second on a fine play by Shuck.
Gardner tripled in the third and scored when Soriano singled through a drawn-in infield for his 14th RBI in three days.
NOTES: Rodriguez went 2 for 5 while starting a day game after a night game for the first time since coming off the disabled list. He was rested last weekend under similar circumstances. … SS Derek Jeter (strained right calf) needs to run the bases and perhaps play a rehab game or two before he’ll be ready to come off the DL, manager Joe Girardi said. Jeter will head to the team’s complex in Tampa, Fla., when the Yankees go to Boston this weekend. … RF Ichiro Suzuki, six hits shy of 4,000 combined in the majors and Japan, was rested against the left-hander in favor of Wells. Suzuki popped out as a pinch hitter and has one hit in his last 13 at-bats. … New York called up LHP David Huff and optioned RHP Dellin Betances to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP David Phelps (strained forearm) was transferred to the 60-day DL, keeping him out until at least early September. … LHP Andy Pettitte (7-9, 4.62 ERA) goes for his 20th career win against rival Boston on Friday night. … Aybar was back at SS after sitting out Wednesday. He left Tuesday night’s game with cramping in his left calf.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.