Game Four: Yanks 4 White Sox 2
NEW YORK — Hours after the Yankees honored some of the greatest players in the franchise’s history, Robinson Cano celebrated the here and now of his fourth All-Star selection with a tiebreaking two-run home run in Sunday’s 4-2 win over the White Sox.
The home run was enough for starter Phil Hughes, who battled 95-degree heat for much of the afternoon but was sharp after a two-run first inning, striking out eight and walking one across eight innings.
“I thought he made some mistakes with the location of his fastball and then he corrected it, and that was the big difference,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He threw an outstanding game in the heat. He stayed consistent. To be able to give us eight innings on a day like today is extremely difficult.”
Between the temperature, pregame events and a battle between first-place teams, Sunday was an eventful day in the Bronx. Before the game, the Yankees hosted some of the best to wear pinstripes during the 66th Old-Timers’ Day in franchise history and celebrated four of their players — Cano, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and CC Sabathia — earning spots on the American League roster for the July 10 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
While Cano spoiled a ripe scoring opportunity with the bases loaded and no outs in the first by grounding out to White Sox starter Gavin Floyd for a double play, he made up for it in familiar fashion. The second baseman graciously repaid the fans who rewarded him with a trip to the Midsummer Classic with a line-drive shot into the right-field seats in the third inning for his 20th home run of the season. Cano now has seven home runs in his last 11 games, and it appears he has started July exactly the way he left June, during which he hit 11 homers.
“There’s no explaining it; I’ve just been taking advantage of pitches down the middle,” Cano said. “Today, it went out in a good situation. I feel the same way I felt in the beginning of the season. I feel good.”
Hughes got off to a tough start, a problem that has plagued him for much of the season. Alejandro De Aza doubled to open the game and Kevin Youkilis followed with a single. Alex Rios’ single to right drove in another run, but Hughes held the White Sox at two runs in the first and rarely ran into trouble thereafter.
Eric Chavez helped erase the damage and jumpstarted the Yankees’ offense in the second inning, when he hit a towering home run to right field with Raul Ibanez on second. That tied the score at 2 and set the stage for Cano’s shot in the third.
“The first inning, sometimes I get a little too amped up,” Hughes said. “It has been a problem this year, especially at home. I have to calm my emotions a little bit and just pitch from the get-go instead of overthrow. Once I got going a bit, I could settle down.”
On the season, Hughes has settled down considerably, lowering his ERA from 7.48 on May 6 to 4.29. After rebounding from a short outing in Atlanta with his eight-inning effort against Cleveland on Tuesday, Hughes pitched deep into the game again on Sunday. The right-hander threw 74 of his 106 pitches for strikes, earning his sixth win in a span of eight starts.
Since the Yankees lost Sabathia and Andy Pettitte to injury earlier this week, the other three rotation mainstays have delivered quality outings. Hughes’ performance on Sunday followed strong starts by Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda, who combined to throw 14 1/3 innings and give up just one run against Chicago. For the majority of Sunday’s game, Hughes followed suit, retiring 16 of the final 17 hitters he faced……Read More
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Game Three: Yanks 4 White Sox 0
NEW YORK — The adjustment period has long since ended for Hiroki Kuroda, and Saturday was just another opportunity to take notice.
Inconsistencies plagued the start to Kuroda’s tenure in pinstripes until 104 pitches got the right-hander through eight scoreless innings on May 27 in Oakland. Since then, the first-year Yankee has been worth every bit of the $10 million he will earn, and 46,895 fans at Yankee Stadium on Saturday saw just how effective he can be in a 4-0 win over the White Sox.
“I really think it was just the adjustment of coming over here,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Kuroda’s early-season struggles. “I think sometimes when free agents come over here, they try to hard to validate things. I think he got over that after the first month and realized, ‘You know what? I just have to go out and pitch and do what I do.’ For some guys, it takes a month. Some guys, I’ve seen it take a year. Some guys don’t ever get over it.”
Kuroda clearly has.
The right-hander threw seven stellar innings to earn his fifth win in his past seven starts. He has a 1.65 ERA over that stretch, which includes all of June and his May start in Oakland, and in that span, Kuroda threw fewer than seven innings in a start only once. The right-hander tied a career high with 11 strikeouts against Chicago, bringing his total to 44 in his past 49 innings. He has walked 11 in that stretch.
“I think I’ve been really aggressive lately,” said Kuroda, who spent his first four seasons in the National League, with the Dodgers. “Earlier in the season, I was facing a lot of hitters that I hadn’t faced before, so I tried to be careful to hit those corners and I got behind in the count many times. Now, I try to be as aggressive as possible.”
Doing so was easier with a lead, which Curtis Granderson provided in the first inning when he sent the second pitch he saw from Jake Peavy into the second deck in right field.
It was the only run Kuroda needed, but the Yankees’ offense provided more.
They scattered four runs across Peavy’s eight-inning complete game, while Kuroda mowed through the Chicago lineup before turning it over to the back end of a bullpen desperately in need of a day to rest. Kuroda had runners on the corners in the first inning but escaped by striking out Alex Rios, setting off a stretch of 15 consecutive batters retired. By the time that run ended with a 94-mph fastball off Kevin Youkilis’ left elbow, Kuroda had a three-run lead……Read More
Box Score and Highlights:
Game Two: White Sox 14 Yanks 7
NEW YORK — The White Sox 14-7 victory over the Yankees before 44,265 at steamy Yankee Stadium on Friday looked more like the final from a Bears-Jets game played at Soldier Field in wintry mid-December.
Instead, this was a drubbing of significant proportions administered by the White Sox (42-35).
It got so bad for the Yankees (46-30) that they removed reliever Cory Wade when he hit the 58-pitch mark during a four-run ninth and replaced him with Dewayne Wise. Yes, the same Wise who made one of the most famous catches in White Sox history and in the history of perfect games to preserve Mark Buehrle’s 2009 masterpiece against the Rays.
Wise retired Paul Konerko on a fly ball to center and got Alex Rios to ground out, making the outfielder pretty much the Yankees’ most efficient pitcher of the night. Against the other four New York hurlers, the White Sox pounded out 19 hits and four home runs.
Everyone but Kevin Youkilis and Eduardo Escobar, who held down the two-spot in the order with Youkilis leaving in the fifth due to stomach discomfort, finished with at least one hit. Alexei Ramirez matched a career high with four hits, while Gordon Beckham, A.J. Pierzynski and Konerko finished with three apiece.
“They just had 21 hits in Minnesota the other night, I believe, too, so this is a club that can really hit,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi of the White Sox, who earned a fourth straight win. “They hit the ball out of the ballpark. I wouldn’t be too quick to form a judgment [on the Yankees' pitchers].”
“We scrapped a little bit and got a couple of runs when we needed them,” Beckham said. “The Yankees can score a lot of runs. They have a lot of talent. It was good to be able to keep putting runs up.”
All of these runs came in support of rookie Jose Quintana (3-1), who had his worst professional appearance statistically. The Yankees scored four in the first inning on Curtis Granderson’s two-run homer and Andruw Jones’ two-run double, but that lead held up only until the top of the second, when the White Sox scored four off Adam Warren, making his Major League debut.
Quintana saw his streak of consecutive scoreless innings end at 16 in the first and his streak of consecutive batters without issuing a walk come to a close at 100 during that opening frame. The lefty gave up two more runs on Jayson Nix’s fourth-inning double but otherwise settled down with the composure of a veteran after the rough start.
“That’s a good win, because it didn’t start off the way I wanted,” Quintana said through translator and White Sox manager of cultural relations Jackson Miranda. “The biggest thing is I battled, and once I saw the guys were hitting balls and trying to get me support, that gave me more energy to go out there.”……Read More
Box Score and Highlights:
Game One: White Sox 4 Yanks 3
NEW YORK — For one brief moment during the White Sox improbable 4-3 victory before 44,041 Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, Addison Reed thought he had become part of Derek Jeter’s extensive Hall of Fame highlight reel.
“It sounded really good off the bat,” said a smiling and relieved Reed, after Jeter’s drive to right was caught by Alex Rios one step from the wall to preserve his 11th save and the White Sox victory.
Jeter just missed the two-out, two-run walk-off shot after left fielder Dayan Viciedo just missed doubling off Dewayne Wise on Eric Chavez’s fly ball to left with Wise running. If Viciedo’s throw was true, then Andruw Jones’ three-pitch strikeout against Reed would have finished the White Sox third straight win.
Viciedo could be excused for ending up a little off target with his strike from left. If it wasn’t for the immense strength of the Tank, then the American Central-leading White Sox (41-35) would have never been able to roll their way to victory.
Actually, it was Viciedo’s game-winning three-run homer in the ninth off of reliever David Robertson (0-2), and Clay Rapada’s defense that helped the White Sox improve to 2-30 when trailing after eight innings. Rafael Soriano was unavailable for the Yankees (46-29) after working in four of five games and throwing 30 pitches during Wednesday’s victory, so Cody Eppley, who struck out Paul Konerko to strand the tying run at third in the eighth, began the final frame.
Rios promptly singled to left, bringing in the left-handed-throwing Rapada to face the left-handed-hitting A.J. Pierzynski. Rapada jammed Pierzynski on an 0-1 slider, with Pierzynski rolling the ball back to the mound on what should have been a sure force at second and a possible double play.
But the sidearming Rapada threw the ball to the right of Jeter covering second and into center field. That error put runners on the corners with nobody out and set the stage for Viciedo’s 14th homer.
“I thought I fielded it very cleanly. I just didn’t get my feet going and pushed the ball right into center field,” Rapada said. “It’s really tough because I executed a pitch that I wanted. I just didn’t do my job as a fielder. I really let the team down tonight.”….Read More
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