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1998 Yankees Diary, July 28: A trio of homers push Bombers past Halos

The series out west opens with an easy victory.

BBA-YANKEES-ANGELS-TAG OUT Photo credit should read GERARD BURKHART/AFP via Getty Images

After taking two-of-three against the White Sox in the Bronx, the Yankees took a travel day and headed out west for a three game set with the Angels. The Halos held a slim lead in the AL West, and were among the league’s better teams up the this point. David Cone took the hill in search of his 15th win, and would continue his stretch of great pitching, while the lineup had his back the whole way through.

July 28: Yankees 9, Angels 3 (Box Score)

Record: 74-26, .740 (Up 15.0)

Across from Coney, the Angels would send 25-year-old Jason Dickson to the rubber, who had seen his fair share of rough stretches in ‘98. Somewhat predictably, he wouldn’t fair so well against the potent Yankee lineup.

The Bombers jumped ahead in a flash in the top of the first. After Chuck Knoblauch was retired, Derek Jeter took a 1-0 pitch and launched it to center field for his 12th homer of the season, and to give New York the early lead.

Darryl Strawberry thought this looked fun and followed suit in the top of the second. With Tino Martinez on first base, he slashed a fastball the other way and into the bullpen for another homer, his 16th, which grew the lead to three. The Yanks weren’t done there, however. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Knoblauch worked a walk to score another, and two batters later Paul O’Neill got the job done with a sac fly to tack on another. After an inning and a half, the Yankees were up 5-0.

Tim Salmon, the franchise’s second-best fish-named player, answered back for the Angels in their turn, with a leadoff homer of his own in the second to bring the score to 5-1. Cone would settle back down, though, and retire the next three batters. The Angels scored their second run in the following inning, to no fault of Cone, as Jim Edmonds scored from first on a Darin Erstad single that was botched out in center by Bernie Williams. After three, the Yanks were up 5-2.

Cone worked a quiet fourth inning, which included a pair of strikeouts, while Williams redeemed himself in the top of the fifth. With one out and no one on, he joined the parade an launched a homer of his own the other way into the bullpen as well. It brought the score to 6-2.

They would add on some insurance in the sixth, after a pair of Angel errors helped load the bases. Jeter got a run across via fielder’s choice, while back to back singles from O’Neill and Williams scored two more, bringing the lead up to seven.

This was more than enough room to work for Cone, as he glided through the Angel’s lineup relatively unscathed. He worked three straight groundouts in the fifth, but did allow another unearned run in the sixth after a Jeter throwing error.

The righty worked around a single in the seventh, and his day was done after that. He would finish going seven frames, allowing just one earned run, and striking out six Angels. It was his seventh straight start going at least seven innings and allowing two or fewer earned runs.

Mike Stanton came on to relieve Cone, and it was the only help the Yankees would need. He worked a quick 1-2-3 eighth inning, and went back out to finish things in the ninth. Garret Anderson led off with a single for the Angels (which grew his hitting streak to 25 games) but Stanton escaped the inning without a run, and closed out the 9-3 Yankees win.

This was the Bombers’ sixth win in seven games, and of course, their 74th in 100 on the year. Winnings three quarters of your games is typically a good formula, as their division lead remained healthy, and they continued to roll through the dog days of the ‘98 Summer.