10/20/09 11:40 PM ET
Angels Short Hops: Game 4
Struggles by Kaz, bats have Halos on brink of elimination
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Scott Kazmir struggled and so did the offense against CC Sabathia, as the Angels are now just one loss away from exiting the postseason.
Right-hander Jason Bulger came in to face Alex Rodriguez in the fifth inning after Kazmir yielded a single to Mark Teixeira to open the frame. The result wasn't pretty. Rodriguez crushed a second-pitch fastball for a two-run homer that gave the Yankees a comfortable five-run lead.
4 -- The number of innings pitched, walks allowed and runs allowed by Kazmir, who struggled with his control. The Yankees made him pay, forcing him from the game after just four-plus frames. Game balls
Kazmir struggled in the postseason yet again for the Angels, yielding five runs over six innings against the Red Sox in his other postseason start this year. In his two playoff starts for the Angels, Kazmir has an 8.10 ERA with just four strikeouts and seven walks over 10 innings.
Morales finally got the Angels on the board in the fifth inning, hitting a homer on a 1-1 fastball from Sabathia for his second career postseason homer. The home run was just his second hit of the ALCS. He entered the game with .077 batting average through the first three games of the series.
Figgins continued his slump by going 0-for-4 against Sabathia and is batting just .071 in the postseason this year, with two hits in 28 at-bats. He's also batting just .125 in the ALCS, with two hits in 16 at-bats.
Sense of October
The sellout crowd at Angel Stadium finally had something to cheer about when Morales hit his fifth-inning homer and Mike Napoli and Erick Aybar followed with back-to-back singles. Suddenly the Angels had their first chance for a rally, but it ended silently after Figgins grounded out and Bobby Abreu flied out to end the inning.
3 AB, 1 H, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R
Comment: Morales was the only Angels player to record an extra-base hit against Sabathia, who was dominant for eight innings. His fifth-inning homer was all the Angels could muster against the big left-hander.
1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K
Comment: Oliver was able to keep the Yankees off the scoreboard, which was a tough task for the staff. The left-hander has quietly pitched six scoreless innings in the postseason so far.
The Angels will look avoid elimination when they host the Yankees for Game 5 at Angel Stadium on Thursday at 4:57 p.m. PT on FOX. Los Angeles ace John Lackey will take the mound against New York right-hander A.J. Burnett.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.