ANAHEIM, Calif. — Giancarlo Stanton hit a fly ball deep to left that a week ago would have landed in the seats for a game-tying home run.
But in another reminder that their 13-game winning streak is a thing of the past, the ball only made it to the warning track for a sacrifice fly, which left the Yankees still down by two runs in what turned into a fourth straight defeat, 6-4, to the Angels.
With Tuesday night’s loss, the Yankees fell eight games back of Tampa Bay, the furthest they have been since they were 8½ behind on July 29.
“Losing four in a row is very frustrating,’’ Brett Gardner said of losing four straight by a total of six runs. “Just unacceptable. We’ve been playing good baseball for a while now… We’ve been in games and had an opportunity to change the outcome. We just haven’t been able to.”
“We’ve had to bounce back from a lot this year,’’ Jameson Taillon said. “It’s a lot more fun winning than losing.”
The Yankees still had a chance after Stanton’s fly ball, as Joey Gallo walked before Gio Urshela faced Jake Petricka.
Urshela struck out on a 3-2 pitch to bring up pinch-hitter Luke Voit, who also whiffed on a full count in place of Rougned Odor. And for a second straight night, the Yankees couldn’t rally in the ninth against closer Raisel Iglesias.
Perhaps just as concerning for the Yankees as their longest losing streak since they also dropped four in a row from June 25-28 is the fact the Rays have won nine straight.
On Tuesday, they hit into a season-high five double plays and Taillon — who not long ago pitched like the dominant right-hander they had hoped they were getting from Pittsburgh — had a second straight clunker.
“We’ve lost some razor-thin games,’’ Aaron Boone said. “The story was we hit five double plays that really hurt us. I felt like, man, we should have broken that [game] open. We couldn’t get that big hit.”
And to complete the ugliness, Shohei Ohtani — who didn’t pitch Tuesday because he was hit by a pitch in his right hand on Saturday — stole home on a delayed double steal to give the Angels an insurance run.
Like Corey Kluber on Monday, Taillon didn’t give up a hit through three innings before falling apart in the fourth.
Taillon allowed six runs in 4 ²/₃ innings and has given up 11 earned runs in 8 ¹/₃ innings in his last two outings. And over his last four outings, the right-hander’s ERA has jumped from 3.82 to 4.44.
The Yankees squandered a scoring chance in the top of the first.
DJ LeMahieu led off with a single and was able to advance to second on Anthony Rizzo’s groundout because he was running on the 3-2 pitch. Aaron Judge followed with a walk, but Stanton hit into a double play to end the threat.
Rizzo gave the Yankees the lead with a leadoff homer in the fourth.
Taillon retired the first nine batters he faced — at one point striking out four straight — before David Fletcher opened the bottom of the fourth with a flare single to shallow right.
Ohtani walked before Gosselin popped up a bunt.
Jared Walsh drilled a three-run homer, as the Angels struck in the fourth inning on consecutive nights.
The slumping Gary Sanchez got the Yankees a run closer in the fifth with a solo shot to left. It was the catcher’s first homer since July 20.
But Taillon couldn’t get through the bottom of the inning.
With runners on second and third and no one out, he got Lagares to ground to shortstop to keep the runners from advancing and Rizzo made an even better play on Fletcher’s hard grounder to first for the second out. After an intentional walk to Ohtani, Gosselin singled to center to drive in two runs and end Taillon’s night with the Yankees down by three.
Joely Rodriguez entered and Gosselin took off on a delayed steal. Sanchez made an ill-advised throw to second, where Urshela caught it in front of the bag and fired home, as Ohtani tried to score from third. Ohtani slid under Sanchez’s tag for the third run of the inning.
“Those plays are do-or-die,’’ Rizzo said. “You need a perfect throw to get him. Ohtani’s fast.”
The Yankees turn to Gerrit Cole on Wednesday to try to avoid the sweep.
“This game will beat you up if you let it,’’ Gardner said. “I think we have a resilient group. We’ll see how we play this last month.”