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Yankees 7, Angels 3, 1st game

August 21, 1997

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Hideki Irabu threw his best game yet for the New York Yankees on Wednesday night, along with his glove and a tantrum.

Irabu’s fine pitching along with two homers by Derek Jeter led the Yankees to an 8-5 victory over the Anaheim Angels, completing a doubleheader sweep.

Rookie Jorge Posada hit a three-run homer and Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill each drove in two runs to lead New York to a 7-3 triumph in the opener.

Irabu (4-2), making his sixth major league start, allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings while walking one and striking out eight.

In the fourth inning, he lost the handle on a bunt single by Dave Hollins. As the ball was heading into the Yankees dugout, Irabu threw his glove to try to keep it in play.

``I threw the glove to try and stop the ball,″ Irabu said through an interpreter. ``I did not know the rule (that throwing a glove is illegal), and I was also thinking about the next hitter. It (throwing the glove) was a reaction.″

In the seventh, after he was called for his second balk, Irabu kicked hard at the dirt around the rubber. Second base umpire John Hirschbeck ran in and yelled at the pitcher, prompting Yankees manager Joe Torre to come to the mound.

Earlier this season, after he spit while leaving the mound in Milwaukee, Torre met with Irabu and told him to tone down his temper.

``He’s got a little bit of a rough edge and a short fuse,″ Torre said of Irabu. ``The one thing about it, it didn’t hurt him in the seventh inning, it might have helped him.″

Irabu said his digging at the mound was not a reaction to the balk calls.

``It was to get a better foot placement for the next pitch,″ he said, adding that he doesn’t believe the umpires are ``being unfair to me.″

Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre felt differently.

``I have no problem with the balk calls, I have a problem with (the umpires) running to the mound and making a scene,″ Stottlemyre said. ``It appeared to me he had four sets of eyes on him.″

Irabu and Torre both said it was the Japanese pitcher’s best game for the Yankees.

``His stuff was dynamite tonight,″ Torre said.

Angels catcher Chad Kreuter said Irabu behaved like a child.

``That’s something you see back in Little League,″ Kreuter said of Irabu’s antics. ``I know that he’s very temperamental and you see it with his spitting reaction a month ago, or whatever it was, and the kicking of the rubber tonight and the throwing of the glove.

``I thought he had good stuff, but his poise leaves much to be desired.″

Jeter had three hits and drove in four runs. The multi-homer game was the first of his career.

The Angels have lost five of their last six and fell 1 1/2 games behind AL West-leading Seattle.

The Yankees took a five-run lead in the first two innings against Mark Langston (2-4), pitching for the Angels for the first time since May 19.

Jeter hit Langston’s second pitch for his sixth homer, and the Yankees added another run in the first on Mike Stanley’s RBI double.

Rey Sanchez hit his first homer since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs last weekend. He hit the left-field foul pole in the second after Chad Curtis walked and Joe Girardi doubled, making it 5-0.

Jim Edmonds hit his 20th homer in the second to make it 5-1, and the Angels inched closer in the fourth when Irabu balked home Hollins.

Garret Anderson doubled to start the seventh, took third on Irabu’s second balk, and scored on Chad Kreuter’s grounder. Jeff Nelson relieved Irabu after Luis Alicea and Gary DiSarcina hit two-out singles, and struck out Rickey Henderson to end the inning.

Jeter hit a three-run homer off Shigetoshi Hasegawa in the eighth to give him his first career multi-homer game and the Yankees a five-run lead. The Angels answered with two runs in their half on Tim Salmon’s two-run homer off Nelson, his 24th.

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 39th save.

Langston, sidelined since undergoing surgery on his pitching elbow, allowed six hits and five runs in one inning-plus. He was activated from the disabled list between games to make the start.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa relieved Langston with nobody out in the second, setting up the second meeting of Japanese-born pitchers in a big-league game. Hasegawa pitched in a game against Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 18.

To make room for Langston, the Angels placed catcher Todd Greene on the 15-day disabled list. Greene broke a bone in his right wrist in the fourth inning of the opener when hit by a foul tip off the bat of Sanchez.

``There’s not much solace in what went on today,″ Angels manager Terry Collins said. ``When you lose a doubleheader and you lose your starting catcher, there’s not much solace in that.″

The doubleheader, the first at Anaheim Stadium since Aug. 5, 1988, was forced by a rainout at Yankee Stadium last month. The Angels are not scheduled to return to New York this season.

Dwight Gooden (7-4) allowed just one run in six innings despite issuing five walks in the opener. The Yankees scored all their runs against Ken Hill (6-10).

Notes: Martinez has a career-high 118 RBIs, one more than he had last season. ... Boggs, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning Tuesday night during a 12-4 victory by the Angels, played third base in the opener. It was his first start since Aug. 13, and his first start at third base since July 30. ... Strawberry was the starting DH for the Yankees in the first game. Injured most of the season, he lined to left and struck out before his sixth-inning single, his first hit in 17 official at-bats this season. He finished 1-for-4. ... ... Henderson struck out four times in the second game _ the first three against Irabu and the fourth against Nelson. ... Curtis was hit by a pitch from Mike James in the ninth inning of the second game, and they jawed briefly before the game continued.

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