By JAKE SEINER
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Jameson Taillon took a perfect game into the eighth inning, then fell behind before the New York Yankees rallied past the Los Angeles Angels 2-1 Thursday night on a clutch swing by pinch-hitter Anthony Rizzo.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Rizzo grounded a two-run single up the middle. Clay Holmes left the bases loaded in the ninth, and the Yankees swept a thrilling doubleheader while handing the Angels their eighth straight loss — the team’s worst skid since 2019.
New York won the opener 6-1, with manager Joe Maddon indicating that starter Shohei Ohtani may have been tipping his pitches to the savvy Bronx Bombers. The AL MVP gave up solo homers to Matt Carpenter, Gleyber Torres and Aaron Judge.
Jared Walsh ended Taillon’s bid for a perfect game in the top of the eighth with a groundball double off shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s glove. He scored on Kurt Suzuki’s single for a 1-0 lead.
The Yankees countered by loading the bases with one out in the bottom half against Oliver Ortega (1-2). Archie Bradley relieved and struck out Joey Gallo, then got two strikes on Rizzo.
The former Chicago Cubs star ripped a 1-2 pitch right back up the middle, scoring Miguel Andújar and Kiner-Falefa easily.
Holmes replaced Taillon for the ninth and earned his seventh save. He walked Ohtani with two outs, drilled Mike Trout in the left arm with a pitch and also plunked Walsh on the knee before Luis Rengifo grounded out.
Trout seemed to be in significant pain but remained in the game.
Taillon allowed two hits, striking out five without a walk on a season-high 101 pitches.
Ohtani made history in the nightcap, joining Hall of Fame slugger Jimmie Foxx as the only players to start both ends of a doubleheader, one of them as a pitcher, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Foxx did it with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945 during the final month of his career.
Taillon cruised through seven innings on 83 pitches, six outs from a perfect game with Ohtani and Trout already out of his way.
Walsh led off the eighth with a grounder up the middle. Kiner-Falefa, shifted to the right side of second base, chased after it, slid and hurried to make a backhand grab and throw. The ball skipped off his mitt into shallow left field, allowing Walsh to reach second.
Taillon grimaced slightly and spit, but otherwise didn’t react much to the hit.
He was visited by a trainer three batters later after covering first base on Brandon Marsh’s groundout. The right-hander insisted he was good to stay in, then gave up Suzuki’s line drive to left that scored Walsh.
Kiner-Falefa preserved the perfect game in the seventh with a nice backhand stop and off-balance throw to get Ohtani. The two-way star pleaded with Maddon to challenge, but replays showed the throw to first just beat the speedy Ohtani.
Trout then flied out to left, drawing a big ovation from a Yankee Stadium crowd that sensed history.
After lefty Nestor Cortes pitched seven scoreless innings in the opener, Taillon became the seventh straight Yankees starter to cover at least six innings, a first for the franchise since 2017.
Taillon mixed six different pitches, showcasing the finesse and control that’s led to a stellar start to this season. Coming off right ankle surgery in the offseason, he’s 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA and five walks in 58 2/3 innings.
Selected second overall by Pittsburgh between Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in the 2010 draft, Taillon has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. He’s had Tommy John surgery twice, missed time with a sports hernia and had an operation for testicular cancer in 2017 that sidelined him for five weeks.
Taillon’s opponent on the mound, Reid Detmers, threw one of two no-hitters in the majors this season. Detmers no-hit Tampa Bay on May 10. The other was a combined effort by five New York Mets pitchers April 29 against Philadelphia.
Detmers skated around trouble to get through 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Jimmy Herget, Aaron Loup and Ryan Tepera got Los Angeles through the seventh with shutout ball.
Maddon said he thought New York had picked up on a tell from Ohtani via “natural means.”
“We just have to be more vigilant,” Maddon said.
Carpenter led off the first inning with a homer that capped an 11-pitch at-bat, and Ohtani didn’t get his first swing and miss until his 54th pitch. He was charged with four runs in three-plus innings before Maddon pulled the plug after 75 pitches.
Cortes (5-1) delivered seven tidy innings, DJ LeMahieu also homered and the major league-leading Yankees ensured themselves a series victory.
The game was delayed 1 hour, 28 minutes, prior to the top of the ninth. Wandy Peralta returned after the pause and finished for his first save, striking out Ohtani to end it.
Ohtani (3-4) slogged through another disappointing day at Yankee Stadium after getting two outs and allowing seven runs in his debut on the Bronx rubber last June.
Carpenter hit his third homer in six games since joining the Yankees, and Torres connected three batters later to make it 2-0, his 10th homer of the season to surpass his total from 2021. Judge tagged Ohtani leading off the third, a line drive that easily cleared the wall in left for his major league-leading 19th homer.
Ohtani’s velocity was up half a tick from his season average, but he didn’t induce a whiff until a fastball that struck out Rizzo to end a 10-pitch at-bat in the third. Ohtani ended with three misses on 45 swings, a 6.7% rate that’s second lowest in his career, better only than his first outing following Tommy John surgery in 2020, per Statcast.
“I think our guys just capitalized on some mistakes against him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Cortes scattered five hits, walked two and struck out seven on 96 pitches. He dropped his ERA to 1.50, trailing only Texas’ Martin Perez at 1.42 for the major league lead.
Angels: LHP Jhonathan Diaz was added as Los Angeles’ 27th man for the doubleheader and pitched four innings in the opener.
Yankees: OF Estevan Florial was called up as New York’s 27th man.
Angels: Trout, a New Jersey native, gets to play close to home as Los Angeles opens a three-game series in Philadelphia. RHP Chase Silseth (1-1, 3.07 ERA) is slated for Friday’s opener against Phillies RHP Zach Eflin (1-4, 4.60).
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (4-1, 3.12) is set to face Tigers RHP Elvin Rodriguez (0-0, 6.17) in the opener of a three-game set in the Bronx.
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