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ANGELS JUST HOLD ON

L.A. squanders a 4-0 lead but rallies to pull within 3-2 in the series.

Compiled from Times wires

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Kendry Morales drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the seventh inning, and the Angels responded to the Yankees' six-run rally moments earlier for a 7-6 win Thursday night.

The victory trimmed the Yankees' lead in the AL Championship Series to 3-2.

Vladimir Guerrero's single tied it in the seventh for the Angels, who somehow didn't surrender after blowing a 4-0 lead moments earlier.

The Yankees struck immediately after Angels manager Mike Scioscia removed ace John Lackey.

The Game 5 theatrics continued to the final pitch, when Angels closer Brian Fuentes retired Nick Swisher on a full-count popup with the bases loaded. Game 6 is Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, with Andy Pettitte facing the Angels' Joe Saunders.

Torii Hunter hit a two-run single in the Angels' four-run first against starter A.J. Burnett, and Lackey pitched shutout ball after a shaky start to lead the Angels to a 4-0 lead over the Yankees through six innings.

Lackey, who won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for the Angels as a rookie, made his 13th postseason start on the eve of his 31st birthday and tried to prevent the Yankees from wrapping up their 40th pennant and first since 2003.

Only 11 of 70 teams have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven series.

Burnett got off to a shaky start, allowing the first five batters to reach on 12 pitches.

Hunter singled to center for his first two RBIs of the series, Guerrero drove the next pitch to left-center for an RBI double and Kendry Morales capped the rally with a run-scoring single.

Lackey came in 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his three previous postseason starts against New York - including Game 1 last Friday, when he lost 4-1 to CC Sabathia. He allowed three runners as far as second base going into the seventh inning.

The right-hander gave up a single to Derek Jeter on his first pitch of the game and a single to Johnny Damon on his third pitch. But Mark Teixeira struck out for the eighth time in 19 at-bats during this series to that point, Alex Rodriguez fouled out and Hideki Matsui grounded out.

Rodriguez doubled with two out in the sixth, extending his postseason hitting streak to 10 games. Lackey then walked Matsui, but Robinson Cano grounded into a force play. Cano also stranded a runner at second in the fourth when he struck out.

The Angels, who were shut out during the first three innings in their previous seven games this postseason, recorded their second-most productive first inning in postseason play.

In Game 2 of the 2002 World Series at Anaheim, they staked Kevin Appier to a 5-0 lead against San Francisco's Russ Ortiz.

The Yankees had outscored the Angels 22-10 and outhomered them 8-3 during the first four games. But Lackey was cruising in what might be his last appearance in an Angels uniform. The eight-year veteran is one of seven Angels eligible for free agency after the season.

Despite Jorge Posada's .414 regular-season average against Lackey and his two homers this postseason, Jose Molina started behind the plate for the second time in the series because Burnett was pitching. The right-hander was 3-1 with a 2.74 ERA in his previous eight starts - all with Molina as his batterymate - including Game 2 against the Angels and Game 2 of the division series against Minnesota.

Manager Joe Girardi sent Posada up to hit for Molina in the fifth after a one-out single by Melky Cabrera.

But Lackey struck him out looking on a 2-2 pitch at the knees and did the same to Jeter, who swung wildly an a sinker low and away to end the threat. It was Lackey's fifth strikeout in a span of seven batters.

The latest in a series of missed calls by umpires occurred in the third inning, when Dale Scott ruled Damon was out on a hard grounder to first base. But TV replays showed Damon was clearly safe on Morales' toss to Lackey covering the bag. Scott also blew a call in Game 4 on a pickoff play at second base.

Angels7

Yankees6

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