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Trout homers early, but Pujols, Angels miss later chances and fall to Yankees 4-3

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - When Mike Trout homered on the seventh pitch of the afternoon, the Los Angeles Angels looked ready to mash the Yankees once more time.

Instead, Albert Pujols and his teammates let too many chances slip away — even after some help from a pair of New York fans.

The Angels went hitless in their final nine tries with runners in scoring position Saturday and fell to the Yankees 4-3. John Ryan Murphy hit his first big league homer and drove in three runs while Dellin Betances earned his first win in the majors.

"We created. We just couldn't get that one hit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

A day after the Angels homered four times in a 13-1 romp, they started strong when Trout hit a solo shot in the first inning. Later, it got a lot tougher.

David Robertson posted his first save since coming off the disabled list. Trout singled with one out and stole second, setting up a nervy ninth inning.

Pujols followed with a foul pop, and first baseman Mark Teixeira drifted near the stands. But when he reached into the seats trying to catch the ball, two men — one wearing a Yankees shirt — reached up and deflected it away.

"I understand it. People want baseballs," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's not what you want to see at your home ballpark."

But Robertson regrouped to retire Pujols on a routine fly and struck out Howie Kendrick to end it.

Pujols singled in his first two trips, keeping up a recent run of success at the plate.

Betances (1-0) got Pujols on grounder with a runner on second in the fifth and score 3-all. Reliever Shawn Kelley set down Pujols with two in on the seventh and Matt Thornton got pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez on a lineout with two runners on to finish the eighth.

Robertson got his third save. He was activated from the DL on Tuesday after being out because of a strained left groin.

Murphy lined a two-out, two-run single in the second that gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead. The backup catcher then homered on the first pitch in the fifth, tagging Hector Santiago (0-4) for a 4-3 lead.

"We had reports on him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He did a good job on a changeup with guys on second and third early. It was up and he just stayed with it to right field. And he got a first-pitch fastball over the middle of the plate and he hit it out of the park. So, those are two mistakes."

Santiago also was called for a bases-loaded balk with two outs in the second, setting up Murphy's go-ahead single. Scioscia said the umpires told him Santiago separated his hands while on the rubber.

Santiago admitted the call rattled him.

"Definitely. There's no doubt about it. You've got that little bit of anger," he said. "There was a missed pitch."

"I missed the sign or we got crossed up, whatever it was. It wasn't supposed to be a changeup. So, in the back of your head, maybe you're thinking about that balk still, and not concentrating on what's going on in that at-bat."

Betances took over in the fifth for shaky starter Vidal Nuno and pitched two scoreless innings. The 6-foot-8 reliever struck out three, and has fanned 19 in 11 2-3 innings this season.

Both teams started a 26-year-old lefty, and each lasted only 4 1-3 innings. Nuno pitched in place of Ivan Nova, who's set for Tommy John surgery next week.

Trout hit his sixth home run, sending a solo shot into the right-centre field seats. The New Jersey native got a cheer from his parents in the stands.

A clean, hard slide by Kendrick helped the Angels make it 3-all in the fourth. He knocked down Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts, whose throw on a potential double-play relay sailed into the dugout and let a run score. Chris Iannetta followed with a tying double.

Yankees centre fielder Jacoby Ellsbury made a diving catch with runners at the corners to end the inning.

NOTES: Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (3-0, 2.15) starts against RHP Garrett Richards (2-0, 2.52) on Sunday night. ... Santiago's teams have lost the last nine times he's started. He pitched for the White Sox last year. ... Ian Stewart beat the Yankees' shift with a perfect bunt that rolled off the third-base bag in the eighth.

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