NEW YORK -- Los Angeles Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen tried to treat it like any other situation.
"'Me against you, here it is,'" Jepsen said of his approach after he recorded the final out of the Angels' 10-8 victory over the Yankees on Sunday.
Trouble is, the "him" was another one of the Yankees' current Murderers' Row of hitters in Alex Rodriguez, who had broken out of some recent struggles with two hits and one of the teams' eight combined homers on the day.
The "where" couldn't have helped, as the Yankee Stadium crowd was roaring after New York scored three runs in the ninth and loaded the bases with two outs, after entering the inning down 10-5.
The Yankees had already dispatched a pair of relievers who had combined to allow just one run on the season for the Angels entering the series. It was a task similar to one of those eerie moments in a horror movie, with Jepsen's role that of yet another teenager to venture into the unknown woods after his friends disappeared one by one.
But he managed to get Rodriguez to pop up, and the Angels finally emerged from the dark scenario of a possible sweep, salvaging the finale of a three-game series after dropping the first two.
It took the final escape, homers from Erick Aybar, Albert Pujols, Maicer Izturis and Mark Trumbo, and an odd 1-3-6-6-2 double play for the Angels, the offseason favorites, to top the team that currently has the best record in baseball.
All of that helped them withstand the Yankees' four homers, from Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Eric Chavez and Mark Teixeira as well as two spectacular catches by Granderson.
"I think when you're facing deep lineups like the Yankees have, you've got to work for everything," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You've got to work for the last out. You've got to work from the first out on. That's why it was important for us to match them on the offensive side like we did today. ... They're a good team and we just held on."
The Angels chased Yankees starter Ivan Nova (10-4) by scoring six runs off him, and added four runs against New York's bullpen to take their 10-5 lead into the ninth.
Teixeira's two-run homer, marking the first runs scored on Ernesto Frieri as an Angel in 26 1/3 innings, brought the Yankees within 10-7.
After Frieri walked Nick Swisher, Scott Downs came on and Raul Ibanez singled off the pitcher's glove.
Downs struck out pinch hitter Andruw Jones for the first out. He got Russell Martin to ground into a fielder's choice for the second out, but walked Derek Jeter to load the bases.
That forced him to face Granderson, who drove in a run with a walk to make it 10-8.
Jepsen followed Downs, the combination that the Yankees had rallied against to overcome a late deficit Friday.
But Jepsen got Rodriguez on a pop up to Pujols to end the game.
"You think he's gonna get a big hit there," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Rodriguez. "He swung the bat well today. Swung the bat well yesterday."
Jered Weaver (11-1) wasn't his usual dominant self, allowing five runs on 10 hits in seven innings, including the three homers.
But the Angels offense picked him up.
Up 6-5 in the eighth, the Angels gave themselves a large cushion with three runs against reliever Chad Qualls. Bobby Wilson's two-run single and Mike Trout's RBI double gave them a 9-5 lead.
Trumbo then added his 24th homer of the season and sixth in seven games against the Yankees, off D.J. Mitchell in the ninth.
"Seemed like today was a pretty good day to get one in the air," Trumbo said. He added of the win, "It's huge. It's huge. I think we battled pretty good this series."
When the ball wasn't leaving the park, there was a good chance it was getting swallowed up by an impressive play or flipped around the infield for an unusual double play.
While Granderson helped the Yankees steal some runs, they gave away the chance for some on the bases in the second and third.
Jeter singled in a run with two outs to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the second, but he made a rare base running error to end the inning as he was thrown out heading for second when first baseman Pujols cut off the throw home.
In the third, Rodriguez singled for a hit in his second straight at-bat with one out and Robinson Cano followed with a single of his own.
But Weaver caught Cano off first and he got in a run down, getting tagged out by shortstop Aybar, who then caught Rodriguez breaking for the plate and fired home. It resulted in an odd 1-3-6-6-2 double play.
"He made a great ... move to get out of a jam in one of the innings," Scioscia said of Weaver's pick-off that started the double play.
"Doesn't work too often," Weaver said.
Granderson made his first impressive catch in the third, with a running, over-the-shoulder grab in center before crashing against the wall to rob Trout of an extra-base hit. He made another impressive play in the sixth, when he limited Alberto Callaspo to a sacrifice fly with a diving catch to his left. Granderson also brought the Yankees within 6-5 in the sixth with his 25th homer of the season.
"It was an unbelievable catch," Girardi said of Granderson's grab of Trout's ball.
NOTES: Yankees GM Brian Cashman indicated he isn't likely to make any moves at the trading deadline. Cashman said he likes his current club, which owns the best record in baseball, and that any available improvements so far would be "marginal" and too costly to consider. ... Cano had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 18 games, which tied a career high. ... Angels right-hander Jordan Walden was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right biceps. Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters he didn't think the injury was serious. Outfielder Kole Calhoun was called up to take Walden's spot Sunday. ... Dan Haren (lower back stiffness) was expected to make a rehab start for High-A Inland Empire (Calif.) on Monday, Scioscia said in his pre-game press briefing. He could return by next Sunday. ... Outfielder Torii Hunter was out of the lineup for the second day in a row with tightness in his groin, but entered the game defensively in the ninth.
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