OJTB: Yankees split four-game series at White Sox
Entering the ninth inning of Saturday’s game at U.S. Cellular Field, the Yankees trailed the Chicago White Sox, 3-0, and with their offense held to only three hits, the visitors seemed assured of a series loss. New York (26-23) rallied for a 4-3, 10-inning win, however, and earned a split of the four-game set with a 7-1 triumph over the White Sox (25-27) on Sunday afternoon.
The Yankees’ batters frustrated White Sox RHP Andre Rienzo in the first two innings. Rienzo (4-1; 4.39 ERA) was forced to throw 54 pitches between these frames, including 31 in a four-run second inning for the Bombers. Rienzo settled down to complete five innings, but the damage was done.
Conversely, RHP Masahiro Tanaka began the game strongly for the Yankees, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced. Tanaka (7-1; 2.29 ERA), who was coming off his first loss of the season, surrendered only one run on five hits over 6.2 innings; he struck out six and walked two.
Tanaka was aided by a pair of double plays off the bat of DH Paul Konerko. The latter twin killing, which featured SS Derek Jeter doubling 1B Adam Dunn off second base, helped New York escape a first-and-second jam with no outs in the seventh inning.
With bright sunshine beaming down on the field, outfielders for both teams seemed to struggle at times to locate fly balls. White Sox CF Adam Eaton got turned around as RF Alfonso Soriano commenced the sixth inning with a double, and LF Brett Gardner got poor jumps on a pair of liners in the bottom of the frame. The second of these bullets, a RBI single by 3B Conor Gillaspie, fell in front of Gardner to score Chicago’s only run.
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run single by Gardner. Jeter followed with a RBI single before CF Jacoby Ellsbury lined a sacrifice fly into the glove of a diving Eaton for a 4-0 lead.
Jeter was at the forefront of New York’s ensuing two rallies. The shortstop tripled with two outs in the fourth and came home on a wild pitch to extend the Yankees’ edge to 5-0. Jeter’s fourth knock of the game, a RBI single up the middle, then upped the Yankees’ lead to 6-0 in the sixth.
2B Brian Roberts culminated scoring with a solo homerun to right field in the eighth inning
RHP Adam Warren fanned C Tyler Flowers to escape the seventh inning unscathed. Warren then fired a scoreless eighth inning.
RHP Matt Daley closed out the game by working around a leadoff double in the ninth.
1) Roberts endured a painful weekend. The second baseman, who missed Saturday’s win after fouling a ball off his right knee in Friday’s loss, was plunked near his right shoulder by a 95-mph fastball from RHP Javy Guerra in the sixth inning.
2) The 118 pitches thrown by Tanaka were the most in a game by a Yankees’ pitcher since LHP CC Sabathia fired 121 pitches over seven innings in a 3-2 New York win at Minnesota on July 3, 2013.
3) After collecting eight hits in 14 at bats (.571) over the series’ first three games, Eaton went 0-4 on Sunday.
The Yankees will conclude their eight-game road trip with a three-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals. RHP Chase Whitley (0-0; 1.00 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Cardinals’ RHP Michael Wacha (3-3; 2.54 ERA) in Monday’s series opener.