Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - Robinson Cano belted a two-out, go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning to vault the Yankees past the Angels, 6-5, in the finale of a three-game series.
Maicer Izturis' error on a soft grounder by Mark Teixeira allowed the Yankees to load the bases, opening the door for Cano's heroics.
"This is a guy that can carry you," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Cano. "That's how good of a player he is."
Mariano Rivera entered with two aboard in the ninth and allowed a first-pitch, three-run homer to Russell Branyan before settling to record his 30th save of the season.
Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer and Derek Jeter went 3-for-3 and scored twice for the Yankees, who rebounded from a three-game skid to win the final two games of this series.
Rafael Soriano (2-1) tossed a scoreless seventh to earn the win.
Scott Downs surrendered the grand slam to Cano, though Fernando Rodney (2-4) suffered the loss after issuing two walks in the beginning of the frame.
Alberto Callaspo went 2-for-5 with a double and a two-run homer for the Angels.
The late fireworks belied the game's measured start, which featured an early duel between starters Bartolo Colon and Tyler Chatwood.
Each pitcher allowed just two runs. The Yankees' Colon lasted six frames and surrendered five hits to his former team, while Chatwood gave up eight hits over 5 1/3 innings.
The Angels loaded the bases with two down in the second, but Colon got Bobby Wilson to ground out to escape the threat.
An inning later, Callaspo ripped a one-out double, but again Colon worked out of trouble, sandwiching a Bobby Abreu strikeout and a Mark Trumbo popout around a Torii Hunter walk.
In the fifth, Colon finally gave way. Erick Aybar reached with a one-out single and Callaspo followed with a blast into the second deck in right.
Like Los Angeles, the Yankees were denied early before eventually breaking through.
With one down in the third, Brett Gardner doubled and Jeter, who was the designated hitter Thursday, followed with a single to place runners at the corners. However, Granderson grounded into a 3-6-1 double play.
Granderson made amends in the sixth, following a Jeter single with a game- tying shot to right.
Later in the frame, a Teixeira single and a Nick Swisher walk chased Chatwood. Hisanori Takahashi entered and struck out Eric Chavez before Rodney put down Eduardo Nunez on strikes.
Rodney remained in the game to begin the home seventh and issued walks to Francisco Cervelli and Jeter. With one down, Downs spelled Rodney and promptly struck out Granderson. Teixeira then tapped a soft grounder toward Izturis, who bobbled the ball, allowing the Yankees to load the bases.
Cano capitalized emphatically, ripping an 0-1 sinker off the base of the second deck in right.
"That extra out cost them the game," said Girardi. "They don't make many mistakes. Cano really took advantage."
Cory Wade struck out Vernon Wells to begin the ninth, but allowed an Izturis single and a Peter Bourjos double before giving way to Rivera. The pinch- hitting Branyan greeted the closer with his second homer of the season, but Aybar grounded out and Gardner made a nice catch on a sinking liner in foul territory to end the game.
"I've seen [Rivera] have three or four bad days and then run off a long stretch," Girardi commented. "I don't think that all of a sudden [he] has forgotten how to pitch."
With the win, the Yankees increased their lead over the Angels in the AL wild card hunt to eight games...The Yankees now trail idle Boston by one game for first place in the AL East.