On Monday night in Anaheim, the Yankees were given a pretty wonderful gift from the baseball spirits. Jered Weaver, in the midst of the best run of his career, lasted just 12 pitches before leaving the game with a back injury.
Weaver didn't record an out before he left the game and the Yankees already led 1-0 at that point thanks to an Angels error. Bobby Casseveh entered the contest, the Yankees scored two more and the Angels committed another error to make it painstakingly clear that they were perfectly fine with handing the Yankees everything they needed for a sixth straight victory.
Phil Hughes wasn't having any of it, though. Hughes gave the Angels four runs and the lead in the bottom of the first inning, a preview of a brutal night to come for Hughes and the biggest reason why this game ended with the Angels celebrating a walk-off home run by Mark Trumbo in the bottom of the ninth inning.
There were plenty of twists and turns along the way to the 9-8 loss, but all of them would have been for naught if Hughes were able to simply turn in a mediocre start. Seven runs and 11 hits in 5.1 innings is far from mediocre and it is far from the decent efforts that Hughes has been ringing up over the last few weeks.
Any way you slice it, it is a bad loss. Scoring eight runs and getting gifts from the opposition aren't things to be wasted the way they were wasted on Monday night, although things could have been worse.
Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher collided on a shot to right-center by Trumbo in the third inning that turned into a triple. Both players went down hard and the collective breath held while waiting to see if they'd get up could power a blimp on its way across the Atlantic.
Both men were fine, but it was clear at that point that the night wasn't going to go as easily as it might have seemed when Weaver left the game. The Yankees kicked a gift horse in the mouth and the horse kicked them right back.