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NYY@LAA: Yankees bat around, plate five in 1st inning

ANAHEIM -- The applause rained down for Derek Jeter moments before the first pitch on Wednesday night as the Angels presented the Yankees' captain with a pinstriped paddleboard, a gesture that added a dash of Southern California flair to this final season.

Jeter repaid that gift with his first home run of the season, clearing the left-center-field wall with a blast off Hector Santiago as the Yankees rolled to a 9-2 victory in Jeter's final regular-season game at Angel Stadium.

"The fans have been awesome here," Jeter said. "I said it after the first game; one of the coolest moments I've had is the ovation that gave me, even from the first game. It was all three games.

"It's something that you'll remember, and I appreciate it. I've played a lot of great games here, competed in the regular season and postseason. I have fond memories of playing here in Anaheim."

Vidal Nuno started for New York and turned in the longest outing of his career, holding the Angels to a run on four hits over 6 1/3 strong innings. Nuno was in command for most of the evening, retiring 13 straight batters through one stretch.

A product of the San Diego suburb of National City, Calif., Nuno said that he had about 50 friends and family members on hand for the contest, part of a sellout crowd of 44,083.

"It was a little meaningful, just knowing that it was the first time that my family came down and is seeing me pitch live baseball," Nuno said. "But it's just going out there and producing, and I'm just happy how everything came out."

Seated behind the first-base dugout, they cheered wildly when Nuno's evening was complete in the seventh inning, handing the ball over to manager Joe Girardi, but Nuno said that they had also come to experience a chapter of Jeter's final season.

"Oh yeah -- no doubt, everybody," Nuno said. "They had a good time. They were blowing me up on texts. It'll be nice to see them."

Mark Teixeira and John Ryan Murphy each drove in a pair of runs as the Yankees took two of three games in the series to open a nine-game road trip, flashing signs of getting their offense back on track after an early-season lull.

Every Yankees starter had at least one hit with the exception of Alfonso Soriano. New York sent eight men to the plate in the first inning, producing five runs against Santiago, who lasted just 2 1/3 innings and is winless in seven starts this season.

Teixeira followed two walks and an error with a two-run double, Yangervis Solarte lifted a sacrifice fly, and Brian Roberts drilled a run-scoring single as the Yankees won a series in Anaheim for the first time since 2004.

"It was huge to get out early," Roberts said. "Anytime you're on the road and you can score in the first and give your guy on the mound a little bit of breathing room; they can swing the bat, we all know that. Nuno was phenomenal, and I think it always helps when you have a lead, for sure."

The Yankees were amused by the brief pregame ceremony, in which Jered Weaver, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick carried the 12-foot-long paddleboard to the mound, where Jeter graciously accepted it.

The paddleboard was relocated to a concourse beyond center field, where fans were posing for free photos with it when Jeter dug in for his second-inning at-bat, snapping a 161-at-bat homerless stretch and giving New York a six-run lead at the time.

"When he came up to the plate that first inning, I kind of gave him a little head nod, like, 'We appreciate what you've done,'" Santiago said. "But after that, it's just battle, man. I felt like I made a good pitch, probably one of the better cutters I've thrown these last seven starts, and he got me."

Jeter entered the road trip saying that he hoped to "get young again" in Anaheim, then responded by going 5-for-10 in the series, raising his batting average to .262.

"You guys said I was old. Am I young now?" Jeter said. "I told you, you struggle sometimes and you feel good sometimes. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with age. I feel young, yes."

The Angels' lone run off Nuno came in the second inning, as Kendrick singled, advanced on a hit and scored on Erick Aybar's fielder's choice. After John McDonald's second-inning walk, the Angels did not manage another baserunner until C.J. Cron doubled to open the seventh.

"It's just mixing his pitches extremely well," Girardi said. "I think he got some outs on some fastballs, curveballs, cutters, changeups, probably everything. It's just keeping them off-balance."

The Yankees pulled away with three more runs in the eighth, fueled by Murphy's two-run single to greet Cory Rasmus, the fifth and final Angels reliever of the night. Jeter hit into a bases-loaded fielder's choice in his final at-bat, and Carlos Beltran followed with a sacrifice fly.

"You savor the moments; the fans have been great, the opposing players have said good things, so you remember those things," Jeter said. "At the same time, we're trying to win games. You appreciate it, but you're still competing and trying to win." Comments