After needing a five-run comeback to get the win in last night's game, the Yankees were able to complete the sweep of the White Sox tonight. CC Sabathia had one of his better starts in two months and the Yankees used a four-run fourth inning to help them to a 6-5 victory.
The Yankees faced 23-year-old righthander Erik Johnson, who was making his major league debut. After retiring his first two hitters, Robinson Cano welcomed him to the majors the hard way by launching a hanging curveball into the right field seats for the Yankees' first run. The Yankees loaded the bases later in the first after a double and two walks, but Johnson struck out Ichiro Suzuki to end the inning.
The Yankees were held scoreless until they broke out in the bottom of the fourth. Alex Rodriguez led off with a single to center and advanced to second after Ichiro reached on an error by Johnson (White Sox baseball!). Lyle Overbay then doubled to right, scoring Rodriguez and putting runners on second and third with nobody out. After getting Austin Romine to ground out, Brett Gardner tripled to left center to knock in two more runs and make it 4-1 Yankees. It was Gardner's ninth triple of the season. Two batters later, an RBI infield single by Cano scored the Yankees' fifth run, and fourth of the inning.
The Yankees added a tack-on run in the bottom of the seventh. It seemed like this would be just a nice little cushion, but it actually ended up being a critical insurance run after the Yankees' pitchers almost imploded for the second time in a week. A walk to Derek Jeter and a single to Cano put runners on the corners with nobody out. Alfonso Soriano, because he has to have an RBI every single game, hit a sac fly to drive in Jeter to give the Yankees a 6-1 lead.
That didn't last long. The eighth inning very nearly turned into what would be a disaster against any team, but especially this year's White Sox team. Gordon Beckham led off the inning with a single to left and was out on a fielder's choice by the next hitter for the first out. Paul Konerko singled to left to put runners on first and second with one out, and that was the end of the night for Sabathia. I know it's the White Sox, but still very encouraging to see Sabathia allow only one run and pitch into the eighth inning. If the Yankees are going to make some noise this month, they need CC to be CC and tonight was the closest he's looked to that in a long time.
David Robertson relieved Sabathia and promptly allowed an RBI single to Avisail Garcia to make it 6-2. Jeff Keppinger flied out to Ichiro for the second out of the inning, and that's when things almost got very, very bad. Robertson walked Dayan Viciedo and gave up back-to-back singles to Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien. Suddenly, it was a 6-5 game and the White Sox had the tying run in scoring position.
Fortunately for the Yankees, they have a guy named Mariano Rivera on their team. He came in and promptly struck out Alejandro De Aza looking to end the White Sox four-run inning. The final line for CC Sabathia was 7.1 innings pitched, five hits, three runs, four walks and four strikeouts. Not fantastic, but pretty good when you think about what we've been getting from him recently. And it could have very easily been just one run allowed if Robertson hadn't allowed the two inherited runners to score.
The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth, and then Rivera shut the door in the ninth, completing the four-out save and finishing off the sweep.
All along we knew this was an important homestand, and the Yankees are treating it as such. They've won five of six and with a Tampa loss tonight could sit less than two games out of the final wild card spot as they "welcome" the Boston Red Sox for a four game set. Ivan Nova and Jake Peavy are tomorrow's probables. Game time around 7:05 ET.