The Yankees (59-45) routed the Chicago White Sox, 12-3, on Saturday afternoon in the series finale at U.S. Cellular FIeld in Chicago. They now have a 6-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East and have not lost any of their last eight series.
The Bronx Bombers had 11 hits and were an impressive 6-11 with runners in scoring position against the White Sox. The bottom of the lineup continued to be productive as the No. 7-9 hitters, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew, were a combined 7-12 with six RBIs and five runs scored.
“You can’t score 13-plus runs and 21 in Texas without the entire lineup doing their thing,” Teixeira said. “We’ve had days where the bottom of the order has carried us. You’re not going to have two or three guys stay hot all year long, and we need to continue to pick one another up as teammates.”
In the first inning, leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury smashed a home run to center off of Jeff Samardzija that set the tone for the rest of the windy game in Chicago. The Yankees were able to manufacture five more runs in the fourth inning. Gregorius hit a single to shallow left center to score Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, Ellsbury hit a sacrifice fly to score Headley & Brett Gardner singled to right to score Gregorius and Drew.
Gregorius has really been on fire as of late as he has 12 RBIs in his last eight games, which is as many as he had in May and June combined. In his last seven games, he has a .480 average in 25 at-bats with one homer, 11 RBIs and seven runs scored. His average was only .242 on July 26 and it is now a solid .260, which is very respectable for a shortstop.
In the fifth inning, Teixeira hit a homer to right to make the score 7-0. That was his 29th homer of the season, which is tied for third most in the AL. Later in the fifth, Drew doubled to center to score Headley and Gregorius. The Yankees scored three more runs in the seventh. Drew hit a two RBI triple and Ellsbury had an RBI groundout.
Ivan Nova won his third consecutive start on Sunday, allowing only one run with seven strikeouts in six innings. He has pitched well since his return from the disabled list (due to Tommy John surgery) on June 24. He has allowed two runs or less in five of his seven starts, which has helped lead him to a very good 3.10 ERA.
The only run that Nova allowed was a Melky Cabrera RBI single in the sixth that scored Adam Eaton. Chasen Shreve, who had not allowed a hit in his previous four appearances or an earned run in his last six appearances, allowed two solo homers in the seventh after the game was decided. He still has an impressive 2.18 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.
“Everything worked for me, worked the way it was supposed to,’’ said Nova, who allowed a run, five hits and fanned seven in six innings. “Today there was good movement on the sinker.’’
The Yankees have the second best winning percentage in the American League and fifth best in all of baseball. After the completion of their 10-game road trip that took them to three midwest cities, the Yankees will not play a game outside of the Eastern Time Zone the rest of the season. The Yankees play 34 of their remaining 58 games at Yankee Stadium, where they have a 30-17 record (.638).
They will begin a three-game series at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox (47-59) on Tuesday.
Masahiro Tanaka bounced back very well from his first loss of the season as he only allowed one earned run on five hits in 6.2 innings pitched in the 7-1 Yankees win in the series finale against the Chicago White Sox. Tanaka’s effective splitter and slider helped him strike out six and earn his seventh win of the season.
Tanaka was aware that he had to make some adjustments to improve on his last start. “I wanted the ball to go down, that is why I made some tweaks to my mechanics,” Tanaka said.
The Yankees split their six games in the Windy City. They had to win their previous two games to do so, and they broke their streak of winning their previous three games by only one run. It was a good sign that the offense produced 10 hits and that Tanaka was able to go deep in the game once again to give the bullpen a break.
Tanaka has now pitched at least six innings in every start this season and every start has been a quality start (six innings and three runs or less). He has struck out at least five batters in every start and has struck out at least seven hitters in eight of his 10 starts. He has an outstanding ratio of 79 strikeouts to only 10 walks in his rookie season.
The Yankees scored seven runs even though their 3-5 hitters went a combined 0-11 in the game. They got contributions offensively from everyone else as Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian Roberts all drove in runs and six different players scored runs. The wind appeared to help Roberts hit his second homer of the season in the eighth, and Alfonso Soriano had his first multi-hit game (2) since May 17, but the offensive star of the game was Jeter.
The Captain had four hits in five at-bats in his final game at U.S. Cellular Field. He had three singles and his first triple of the season. His four hits raised his average from .259 to .275. Jeter hit his stand up triple to deep right center past a diving Adam Eaton. He would score on a Andre Rienzo wild pitch to make the score 5-0 in the fourth. Rienzo allowed 54 pitches through two innings, which signaled that it would be a long afternoon for the White Sox.
“Everybody contributed, and it was nice to see,” Girardi said after the game.
If Jeter collects 74 more hits the rest of the season, which is realistic, he will finish in sixth place in the all-time hits list behind only Tris Speaker, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb and Pete Rose.
Before the game, the White Sox gave gifts to Jeter just like every team is doing after Jeter plays his last game in their stadium. He received dirt from the old Comiskey Field, a bench made of baseball bats that honored other Yankees legends and a $5,000 check for his Turn 2 Foundation.
Conor Gillaspie’s single that drove in Tyler Flowers in the sixth was the only run the Yankees allowed. Adam Warren and Matt Daley pitched the final 2.1 innings and they both continued to be reliable options out of the bullpen. Daley hasn’t allowed a run in his last seven appearances and Warren lowered his ERA to an impressive 1.55.
The Yankees will travel south to St. Louis and start a three-game series against the Cardinals on Memorial Day. The game will start at 4:05 p.m. EST and will be televised on ESPN.
Chase Whitley, who allowed one earned run in his first two starts, will pitch for the Yankees as they try for their third consecutive win. Michael Wacha, who is 12th in the National League in ERA and 6th in strikeouts, will get the start for the Cardinals.
On Wednesday, the Yankees won the second and final game of the series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. After losing the first game 6-1 after Tanaka allowed three earned runs and picked up his first loss since August of 2012, the Yankees won in 13 innings on Thursday as Preston Claiborne picked up the win as he pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and executed a perfect sacrifice bunt in his first MLB at-bat.
After Jeff Samardzija had yet another outstanding start but did not get the win as a result of the Yankees scoring two runs in the ninth to tie the game, Matt Daley, Matt Thornton, Claiborne and David Robertson, who picked up his ninth save in as many chances, combined to only allow two hits in four innings.
Chase Whitley, who was making his second start, held his own once again as he allowed one run in 4.1 innings while striking out three. Dellin Betances came on in relief of him to pitch 1.2 perfect innings and add three more strikeouts. He now has an impressive 45 strikeouts in 26 innings.
In the ninth inning, when the Yankees were losing 2-0, Ichiro Suzuki scored after grounding into a fielder’s choice to the shortstop and then Brendan Ryan scored the tying run after defensive replacement Darwin Barney made an error throwing to first.
The Yankees came through in the clutch off of Cubs closer Hector Rondon. The offense came up big once again in the 13th inning. After Ryan singled to leadoff the inning and Yangervis Solarte walked, Claiborne’s perfectly executed sacrifice bunt in front of the pitcher advanced the runners to second and third with two outs. Ryan, who came into the game in the ninth inning, scored the winning run on a wild pitch by former Yankee Jose Veras, and John Ryan Murphy’s single sent Solarte home from third.
Murphy is now hitting an impressive .406 in 32 at-bats. Solarte, who had two hits in four at-bats and scored that insurance run, improved his average to .317. He is still leading the team in average, on-base percentage (.394), RBI (24) and total bases (70). The Yankees (24-21) would not be in first place in the American League East without Solarte, who had previously spent his career in the minors in both the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers organizations.
The Yankees will now move onto the south side of Chicago where they will play the White Sox for four games at US Cellular Field. Thursday’s game will be at 8:10 p.m. EST. The White Sox, who have a 23-25 record and have lost three of their past five games, are third in MLB in runs scored, seventh in batting average and seventh in slugging percentage.
However, the White Sox are now without impressive rookie Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, who is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. He was leading the team in homers (15), RBI (42), and runs scored (29). He is also currently leading the AL in homers and RBI. The Yankees are lucky that their depleted pitching staff will not have to face him in this series.
On Thursday night, White Sox ace Chris Sale will make his return from the disabled list. His last start came on April 17 when he allowed one run in seven innings to the Red Sox. Sale had a 1.23 ERA in two starts against the Yankees last season.
For the Yankees, David Phelps will get his third start of the season since Michael Pineda was put on the disabled list. Phelps has allowed one, four and zero earned runs respectively in those three starts. His best start came on May 17 against the Pittsburgh Pirates as he struck out a season-high five batters and walked three in five scoreless innings. He was able to earn his first win of the season.
On Wednesday it was revealed that Pineda, who is on the disabled list as a result of a back strain, is making progress and looked comfortable during a 30-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. This obviously means that he has not suffered a setback, which is a good sign.
The starting pitcher on Friday for the Yankees will be Hiroki Kuroda (3-3, 4.61 ERA), and the starter for the White Sox will be former Yankee Hector Noesi (0-3, 5.32 ERA). On Saturday, at 2:10 p.m. EST, Vidal Nuno (1-1, 5.82 ERA) will face John Danks (3-4, 5.64 ERA). In the series finale, at 2:10 p.m. EST on the YES Network, Andre Rienzo, who is a rare baseball player from Brazil, will get the start for the White Sox. Masahiro Tanaka (6-1, 2.39 ERA), the rookie sensation from Japan, will look to bounce back from his first loss of the season.
This will be the first series that the Yankees have played against the American League Central this season.