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Ivan Nova makes another solid start, but Yankees' slump grows with 2-1 loss to LA Angels

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ANAHEIM, California — Ivan Nova made only two major mistakes in his second start back from elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar deposited them both into the ficus trees beyond center field at the Big A, and Nova's fellow New York Yankees couldn't overcome the homers.

Andrew Heaney pitched seven innings of two-hit ball, Pujols and Aybar hit back-to-back homers in the sixth, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Yankees 2-1 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.

Mark Teixeira homered for the Yankees, who have lost seven of 10.

After Nova stranded six Angels in the first five innings, Pujols and Aybar spoiled a strong effort by the right-hander who had surgery in April 2014. Nova (1-1), who left later in the sixth inning, yielded eight hits and two walks while striking out seven.

"He left a fastball up to Pujols and left a fastball middle-down to Aybar, and they hit them both out," manager Joe Girardi said. "But I thought he pitched a pretty good ballgame. He got out of some jams ... but we didn't score any runs. That's why we lost this game, not because of anything Nova did."

Heaney (1-0) was stellar in his second start for the Angels, who acquired him in the offseason for 2014 hits leader Howie Kendrick. Given his first chance in Los Angeles' rotation while Jered Weaver is injured, Heaney walked two and struck out seven, allowing just one runner to reach second base.

"We hit a lot of balls hard, but right at people," Alex Rodriguez said. "The kid had good stuff and pitched a good game. He challenged us all night long with a lot of fastballs and pounded the strike zone. We just have to maintain our aggressiveness."

Teixeira connected in the second inning for his 19th homer, albeit his first since June 15. His 11-game homer drought was his longest of the season.

Heaney got barely enough offense from the Angels' light-hitting lineup, but was backed by strong defense and relief. Huston Street finished for his 23rd save while pitching in the Angels' fourth straight game.

Mike Trout and Matt Joyce had two hits apiece for the Angels, who have won six of eight on their nine-game homestand. Los Angeles (41-37) heads into July four games above .500 for the first time since June 1.

PHOTO: New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira, right, celebrates his home run with Carlos Beltran during the second inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira, right, celebrates his home run with Carlos Beltran during the second inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

"We're grinding it out," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're pitching well and we're playing defense. ... (Heaney) had all of the things you're trying to put together in a game plan. Really just kept them off balance all night."

Pujols led off the sixth with his AL-leading 24th homer and the 544th of his career, setting an Angels record with his 13th homer of a spectacular month. Aybar followed with his second homer of a rough season.

BELTRAN HURT

New York's Carlos Beltran injured his ribcage while batting in the fifth inning. He was replaced by Garrett Jones in right field.

"On that swing where I hit the foul ball, I felt a little pinch," Beltran said. "So out of precautions, Joe decided to take me out of the game. I'll ice it and get treatment, and hopefully (Wednesday) I'll wake up feeling better."

ALBERT'S HISTORY

Pujols passed Tris Speaker for 13th place on baseball's career extra-base hits list with his 1,132nd.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: OF Jacoby Ellsbury sat out of a scheduled rehab game with the Tampa Yankees on Tuesday. Girardi cited "general fatigue" for the slight delay in his return from a strained right knee ligament.

Angels: Reliever Mike Morin is "close" to returning to the Angels after completing his rehab assignment, Scioscia said. Reliever Cam Bedrosian was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake after the game.

UP NEXT

Yankees: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (7-2, 4.81 ERA) has already set a career high for wins in his debut season with New York.

Angels: Matt Shoemaker (4-6, 5.03 ERA) makes his first career start against the Yankees. He hasn't won at Angel Stadium this season.

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