They say a win is a win no matter how it looks. For the Yankees, this was perhaps their most excruciating victory of the year, a 13-inning, 4-3 triumph over the Chicago White Sox. There were definitely some frustrating moments, but the Yankees were just clutch enough at just the right times to steal a win on the road.
The theme for the night would be missed chances. Both teams had one-out opportunities with runners in scoring position early on, but neither pushed any runs across. It would eventually become a pitcher’s duel between CC Sabathia and Reynaldo Lopez, though in the end, neither pitcher came away with a decision.
After the Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the third inning on just five pitches, the White Sox finally capitalized. Omar Narvaez drew a leadoff walk and Avisail Garcia smacked a double to put two men in scoring position again. This time, the White Sox put a run on the board via a Jose Abreu sacrifice fly, making it 1-0 White Sox through three frames.
The Yankees came close to their first hit in the fifth, but it seemed that the baseball gods had cursed the Yankees’ bats. With one out, Kyle Higashioka ripped a deep drive into the left-center that looked like a surefire home run. That is, until Adam Engel made his best Superman impression, soaring into the air to rob Higashioka of the round-tripper. It was Engel’s second home run robbery in as many days, and it would prove to be important in a close game.
Meanwhile Sabathia was also dealing. While his pitch count was a little high, that’s because he was striking out White Sox left and right. Sabathia finished with 12 strikeouts over 5.2 one-run innings and escaped a couple of jams to keep his team in the game. It was just the second time Sabathia had struck out 12 batters in a game since 2012. Sabathia turned back the clock tonight, for sure.
At long last, the Yankees got into the hit column in the sixth inning as Aaron Hicks cracked a leadoff double. Giancarlo Stanton followed with an infield single, and the Yankees had runners on the corners with no men out. Finally, it appeared like the Yankees were going to break through! Of course though, the Yankees squandered their chance yet again as Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres popped out and Greg Bird struck out swinging.
Fortunately, the Yankees took advantage of a tiring Lopez in the next inning. Miguel Andujar led off the seventh inning with a bullet home run to left, tying the game at one. Higashioka kept it going by lining a one-out double into right field, but the Yankees ultimately stranded him. Still, they had at least tied the game.
It would become a battle of the bullpens from this point on, as David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Jonathan Holder combined to toss three scoreless innings. Chicago’s pitchers also kept New York’s bats at bay, sending this one to extra innings. Brett Gardner walked with one out in the 10th, giving Giancarlo Stanton the chance to come through with the big hit the Yankees were chasing all night.
Stanton saw six pitches, but only swung at one. And boy, did his patience pay off. Tyler Danish hung a 79-mph curveball that Stanton crushed into the right-center field seats to make it a 3-1 ballgame. This time, Engel could only look up and watch the ball sail over his head. It looked like the Yankees had gotten the last laugh in a tough game.
But with Aroldis Chapman apparently unavailable, Zach Britton was tasked with closing out the ballgame. Unfortunately, he didn’t have his best stuff, as he hit a batter and uncorked two wild pitches. Still, he was just one out away from preserving the win. Then Jose Abreu came up, and hit almost a carbon copy of Stanton’s home run to tie the game at three. For the second time in three days, a top Yankees relief pitcher couldn’t finish the job.
While the Yankees didn’t score in the next two innings, Sonny Gray held the White Sox scoreless as well. Gray has been getting a lot of flak lately, but he deserves huge props for stepping up and keeping the Yankees in the game as the last man out of the bullpen.
The Yankees would finally break through in the 13th inning. Gregorius drew a walk and Luke Voit singled with two outs, giving Andujar a shot to take the lead back. The rookie came through with a clutch single, golfing a low changeup into left field that plated Gregorius and gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Now, it was up to Gray to seal the deal. He delivered, and put the cap on a Yankees series victory.
The Yankees will go for the sweep tomorrow night against these same White Sox. For the Yankees, Luis Severino will try to bounce back after a string of tough starts. The White Sox will send out former top prospect Lucas Giolito, a lanky righty in the midst of a tough season. First pitch is set for 8:10 PM.