Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - Bobby Abreu's second home run of the night was a tie-breaking, two-run shot off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning, pushing the Angels over the Yankees, 6-4, in the opener of a three-game series.
Rivera (1-2), fresh off a blown save against Boston on Sunday, retired two straight in the ninth following a leadoff single, but his fifth consecutive cutter to Abreu was redirected into the right-field seats to break a 4-4 tie.
"You never expect as a hitter to hit a home run off of Mariano. First of all, it's tough to make good contact against him, and to hit a homer is nice. Believe me, it's something that is hard to believe," said Abreu.
New York put runners on the corners in its half against Jordan Walden, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in Mark Teixeira. Curtis Granderson, trying to get into scoring position with two outs, fell for the classic fake- to-third, throw-to-first pickoff attempt, and was tagged out in a rundown to end the game.
Walden picked up his 26th save for closing out the win, Los Angeles' fifth in seven games. The Yankees have dropped three straight on the heels of an eight- game winning streak.
LA scored four runs in the sixth to jump in front. Abreu started the frame with a home run off A.J. Burnett, and three walks to the next five batters loaded the bases. Jeff Mathis' ground-rule double to center plated two more, and Peter Bourjos raced home on a wild pitch for a 4-1 cushion.
"I wouldn't change a lot that I did. I pretty much pitched with conviction all night and used my four-seamer pretty well," Burnett said about his performance.
Angels starter Dan Haren gave up a solo home run to Granderson in the first inning, but was otherwise cruising until Russell Martin hit a two-out double in the seventh.
Eduardo Nunez blooped a single to right to pull the Yankees within two, and Haren was pulled after allowing a base hit to Brett Gardner, who stole second after Fernando Rodney took over on the hill. Derek Jeter tied things with a line-drive hit to center.
Scott Downs (6-2) gave up a walk and a single in a scoreless eighth and was credited with the win.