ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Cody Allen may have put it best Wednesday afternoon, when the struggling reliever was discussing his demotion from the closer role with a group of reporters outside the Los Angeles Angels clubhouse.
"This game is humbling," the veteran right-hander said. "It's either hard or really hard."
Wednesday night's 6-5 loss to the New York Yankees before 37,928 in Angel Stadium fell under the latter category.
The Angels, for whom victories have been so elusive in the past two weeks, took a 5-0 lead into the sixth inning and appeared well on their way to a win before crumbling amid a flurry of walks and timely Yankees hits.
New York scored twice in the sixth and three times in the seventh to tie the score and won with a quick-strike two-out rally off Angels reliever Ty Buttrey in the ninth.
Buttrey, who did not allow an earned run in 9 1/3 innings of his first 11 games this season, got the final three outs of the seventh, retired the side in order in the eighth and got two outs in the ninth with the help of right fielder Kole Calhoun, who made a running, leaping catch at the wall to rob Mike Tauchman of a double.
But No. 9 hitter Tyler Wade singled to right-center, stole second and scored when D.J. LeMahieu flared a single to right field. Closer Aroldis Chapman threw a scoreless ninth for his fourth save, sending the Angels to their 10th loss in 12 games and the Yankees to their sixth straight win.
The Angels built a 5-0 lead on Andrelton Simmons' two solo homers off Yankees starter CC Sabathia, in the first and fourth innings, and Calhoun's three-run homer later in the fourth.
The Angels employed an "opener" for the second time in four games. Reliever Cam Bedrosian struck out two in a scoreless first and Felix Pena followed with five strong innings in which he allowed two runs -- one earned -- struck out eight, seven with a nasty slider, and walked none.
But the Yankees scored twice off Pena in the sixth -- on LeMahieu's RBI double and catcher Jonathan Lucroy's passed ball -- and took advantage of Angels reliever Luis Garcia's inability to find the strike zone to tie the score 5-5 in the seventh.