These Angels were heaven-sent. At least, the Yankees must have thought so.
On Sunday, the beleaguered Yankees returned home from a disheartening 4-6 road trip after absorbing a particularly brutal loss that afternoon in Baltimore as Aroldis Chapman blew a save for the first time this year.
But in came in the pitching-deficient Angels, and after a 6-3 victory Thursday night completed a four-game sweep, the Yankees (30-30) feel as good about themselves as they have all season. “You can’t get to over .500 until you’re there,’’ Joe Girardi said. “We’ve been there one other time. I think it was important. We have to keep playing well.”
“If we continue to do what we’re doing right now, it’s going to continue to be fun for us,” said Carlos Beltran, who had a two-run double in the Yankees’ five-run fifth inning that turned a 1-0 deficit into a 5-1 lead.
The Yankees scored 29 runs in the series and reached the .500 mark for the first time since May 24, when they were 22-22.
The night wasn’t entirely positive, however. First baseman Chris Parmelee — who hit two home runs in his first start Wednesday night and had an RBI single Thursday night — left the game in the seventh inning with what appeared to be a serious right hamstring injury after doing a split while stretching for Didi Gregorius’ wide throw.
Girardi said Parmelee will be sent for an MRI but “I would be shocked” if he doesn’t end up on the disabled list.
The Yankees could bring up Nick Swisher, who has limited mobility and hasn’t been hitting. They also could promote another catcher and have Austin Romine see occasional time at first base along with Rob Refsnyder, all the while exploring options outside the organization.
They’ve already lost Greg Bird and Dustin Ackley for the year and Mark Teixeira for an indefinite amount of time. “You’re usually not five deep at first base,’’ Girardi said. “It’s hard, but we have to find a way to overcome it.”
The Angels (26-34) marked the start of a stretch in the schedule in which the Yankees can get fat. The Tigers (30-29) come in this weekend, followed by road games against the Rockies (28-32) and Twins (18-41). After that, the Yankees return home to play five more against the Rockies and Twins. “We need to take advantage of this month because the first two months, our record was not where it needed to be,” Girardi said before the game. “I don’t get caught up in who we play because if you don’t play well, you’re not going to win.”
His club did most things well enough Thursday night.
Ivan Nova (5-3, 4.39) allowed three runs and six hits in 6 1⁄3 innings. Jefry Marte’s two-run homer into the second deck in left made it 5-3 in the seventh. But Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller got the ball to Chapman, who pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save. “We’re playing really good baseball,” Nova said.
The Yankees had 11 hits, three by Brett Gardner and two by Chase Headley. Alex Rodriguez had an RBI double and a sacrifice fly.
Angels righthander Jhoulys Chacin (2-4, 4.83) allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1⁄3 innings.
The Angels took the lead in the fourth when Mike Trout doubled and scored on C.J. Cron’s single. But Parmelee’s RBI single got things rolling in the fifth, with Beltran’s ground-rule double driving in two runs, Rodriguez lifting a sacrifice fly and Brian McCann adding an RBI double to left. After Marte’s two-run homer in the top of the seventh, A-Rod’s RBI double in the bottom half made it 6-3.
“Happy to be able to start the homestand on a positive note,” said Beltran, who went 7-for-15 with three homers and 10 RBIs in the series. “We just need to continue to find a way to play the same way.”