Gary Sanchez returned from the injured list and hurt the Yankees. Tyler Wade’s unawareness of where the ball was deepened the pain.
Yet neither player killed the Yankees’ chances of beating the woeful Angels on Wednesday night. Sanchez striking out four times and committing a fielding error and Wade getting tagged out while shifting his weight from one leg to another at second base didn’t lead to the Yankees’ winning streak being halted.
That’s because DJ LeMahieu’s two-out single that scored Wade from second in the ninth inning lifted the Yankees to their sixth straight win, a 6-5 victory in front of 37,928 at Angels Stadium.
Wade singled to right and stole second in front of LeMahieu’s soft single to right that easily scored Wade.
Aroldis Chapman recorded the final three outs for his fourth save in five chances.
The 14-10 Yankees have won six straight and eight of nine. And while late April isn’t the right time to track standings, the banged-up Yankees are 1½ lengths back of the AL East-leading Rays.
Aaron Boone’s face lit up talking about writing Sanchez’s name into the lineup for Wednesday night’s game at Angel Stadium, where CC Sabathia chased a huge pitching milestone.
“Obviously, really excited to get him back,’’ Boone said of Sanchez, who batted cleanup and struck out four times. “It was good to write his name in the lineup, no question. Looking forward to him getting back in the fray and help us to continue to win games.’’
Sanchez went 0-for-4 and helped kill a sixth-inning rally by striking out with two runners on in the fifth and one out. The Yankees plated two runs, but a hit by Brett Gardner, Sanchez or Gleyber Torres might have pulled the Yankees closer than 5-2.
Sabathia started the night six strikeouts away from 3,000, but left after five innings with three strikeouts. All that did was hike his career total to 2,997. In five innings Sabathia gave up three homers — two to Andrelton Simmons — and five runs.
A three-run seventh inning by the Yankees allowed Sabathia to spit out a loss. His next chance to become the 17th pitcher in baseball history and the third lefty with 3,000 strikeouts is next week against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
Sanchez had help letting Sabathia down with shaky defense. LeMahieu failed to field a one-hop smash by Jonathan Lucroy in the four-run fourth inning that would have led to a double play. Instead, Kole Calhoun followed with a three-run homer that put the Yankees in a 5-0 ditch.