NEW YORK – Fill-in first baseman Miguel Cairo made two errors on one play in the 13th inning, allowing the Los Angeles Angels to edge the New York Yankees 2-1 on Saturday after a spirited pitchers’ duel between Roger Clemens and All-Star John Lackey.
Cairo, subbing at first for ailing Andy Phillips, made three of New York’s five errors, its most in nearly five years.
Cairo singled in the bottom of the 13th and reached third with one out, but Francisco Rodriguez (2-2) struck out Melky Cabrera and retired Derek Jeter on a close forceout with runners at the corners.
Fittingly, Clemens was in top form on Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium. The Rocket, who will turn 45 next month, was older than five of the former players in attendance, including first-timer Paul O’Neill.
Clemens went pitch-for-pitch with Lackey, who matched his career high with 11 strikeouts. Both pitchers left after eight innings with the score tied at 1.
The bullpens took over from there – until the Yankees’ sloppy defense cost them.
Howie Kendrick doubled off Luis Vizcaino (4-2) to start the 13th before Jose Molina, who entered at catcher in the 11th, failed on two attempts to bunt the runner over.
Molina stayed alive – throwing his bat to foul off one pitch – and hit a grounder to the right of Cairo. He made a diving stop, fumbled the ball and then made an errant toss behind Vizcaino.
The ball rolled all the way to New York’s dugout, allowing Kendrick to score. Cairo was charged with two errors on the play – he also botched a grounder in the 10th.
The last time the Yankees made five errors was in a 16-inning loss to Oakland on Aug. 9, 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Bobby Abreu hit an early RBI double for the Yankees (41-43), who were trying to reach .500 for the first time since after a loss in San Francisco on June 23. Cabrera struck out five times, four against Lackey.
The AL West-leading Angels won for the fourth time in 11 games following a 7-1 stretch. They haven’t homered in their last six games.
Angels reliever Scot Shields pitched three innings for the first time since Sept. 16, 2004, at Seattle. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 18 outings covering 23 innings.
Clemens looked plenty spry, sliding to the dirt after covering first on a groundout in the fourth and jumping for a comebacker to start an inning-ending double play in the fifth. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner pumped his fist after Reggie Willits was caught stealing on a pitchout to end the sixth, thanks to a terrific tag by second baseman Robinson Cano.
Clemens allowed one run in eight innings for the second time in five days – he beat Minnesota for his 350th win on Monday night. The right-hander held Los Angeles to five hits, walking one and striking out three.
A trainer and pitching coach Ron Guidry visited the mound to check on Clemens after he fanned Casey Kotchman to start the eighth, but the pitcher finished the inning.
While Clemens used his diving splitter to generate groundouts, Lackey was baffling the Yankees with big curveballs. He did not walk a batter and tied his strikeout high set on Sept. 28, 2006, against Oakland.
Lackey is 7-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last eight starts on the road. He gave up a leadoff double to Jorge Posada in the seventh, but struck out the next two batters and picked off Posada at second base. An excited Lackey then charged off the mound, clapping his bare hand into his glove.
Hideki Matsui hit a leadoff double in the second and scored on a ground-rule double by Abreu with one out. Abreu might have had a triple if the ball didn’t bounce over the left-center fence near the 399-foot sign, and that may have cost the Yankees a run.
Abreu was held at third on Cairo’s single to left with two outs, and Johnny Damon grounded out with two runners in scoring position to end the inning.
The Angels answered against Clemens in the third. Garret Anderson led off with a double, moved to third on a grounder to the right side by Kendrick and scored on a groundout by No. 9 batter Jeff Mathis, his first RBI this season.
Notes: Phillips sat out again with a sore neck. … It was the longest game of season for Angels. … Mariano Rivera pitched two shutout innings for New York.