Mariano Rivera struck out Albert Pujols with the bases loaded to end the Angels' five-run rally in the ninth inning, and the New York Yankees snapped their five-game losing streak with a wild 6-5 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday.
CC Sabathia pitched five-hit ball into the ninth and Travis Hafner hit a three-run homer off Jered Weaver, but the Yankees barely survived when Rivera fanned the Angels' star slugger. New York's famed closer gave up three hits and a walk, but still got his 24th save.
Lyle Overbay and Jayson Nix also drove in runs during a five-run third inning for the Yankees, who salvaged the finale of their 10-game road trip by battering Weaver (1-3) early and hanging on by their fingernails late.
Sabathia (7-5) struck out six and walked three, but tired in the ninth, leaving with two runners on. After reliever David Robertson left with a 6-1 lead, Rivera gave up Erick Aybar's RBI groundout, Alberto Callaspo's two-run single and Peter Bourjos' RBI single.
Rivera then walked Mike Trout to load the bases before getting Pujols, finally wrapping up the 632nd save of his unmatched career.
Despite the finish, Sabathia decisively won the matchup of both clubs' top starters. Weaver gave up seven hits and four walks over six innings for the Angels, who had won three straight.
Vernon Wells drove in what turned out to be the decisive run with a sacrifice fly off Jerome Williams in the eighth.
Los Angeles managed just four singles off Sabathia until the crazy ninth.
Sabathia left after Trout's leadoff double and a walk to Pujols. Mark Trumbo then drove in the Angels' first run with a line drive that hit Robertson and bounced into right field for a single. Robertson stayed in the game, but loaded the bases with a one-out walk to pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck.
That created an unlikely save opportunity with a five-run lead for Rivera, but the 43-year-old career saves leader wasn't sharp. Aybar and Callaspo drove in runs before pinch-hitter Brad Hawpe delivered his first major league hit in two years.
Bourjos then singled home Callaspo to trim New York's lead to one run. Trout drew a walk to load the bases for Pujols, but the Angels' $240 million man couldn't connect.
New York is without injured regulars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Kevin Youkilis, but got offense from less likely sources in the series finale. Nix had three hits, while Hafner's two-out shot ended his 0-for-23 skid for the Yankees, who hadn't scored more than four runs in eight straight games before doing it in the third inning alone at Angel Stadium.
Weaver struck out six, but repeatedly found trouble in his fourth start since returning from a 45-game stint on the disabled list. A 20-game winner last season, the Angels' longtime ace is winless in his last three starts.
Weaver had two outs and two strikes on Hafner before the veteran hit his 11th homer. Hafner had just five hits in his previous 53 at-bats before connecting against Weaver, including a 2-for-27 start to the road trip.