The story of the day, for multiple reasons, was Alex Rodriguez. The story going into the game was his long-awaited return to the Yankees lineup. But in the game itself, there isn't much A-Rod or anybody else could have done to make up for Andy Pettitte tonight.
Pettitte simply did not have it tonight, starting right from the first inning (sounds familiar doesn't it). He only lasted 2.2 innings into the game as the last place White Sox snapped their ten (!!!!!) game losing streak to beat the Yankees 8-1 at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox began the bottom half of the first with four consecutive singles. Alexei Ramirez singled to right center on the second pitch of the game. Jeff Keppinger then grounded back to the mound, except the ball was bobbled by Pettitte for an infield single. Alex Rios then singled to drive in Ramirez, and another single by Paul Konerko loaded the bases for Adam Dunn. Dunn worked the count to 3-0 before launching the ball to the warning track in right center field for a sac fly to make it 2-0 White Sox, and Gordon Beckham then singled in Rios to make it 3-0. Pettitte struck out the next two batters to end the inning. He has now given up at least one run in the first inning in seven consecutive starts.
The Yankees had their opportunity to try and get back into the game in the top of the second. Alex Rodriguez led off the inning with a single and moved to third on a double by Vernon Wells. However, back to back pop ups by Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki stranded A-Rod at third, and Eduardo Nunez struck out to end the second.
Things only got worse for Pettitte from there on out. Josh Phegley singled and moved to third on a double by Jeff Keppinger... yes, Pettitte gave up two hits tonight to Jeff Keppinger. Anyway, Rios singled in another couple of runs to make it 5-0 White Sox. And then in the bottom of the third, singles from Beckham, Casper Wells and Alexei Ramirez gave the White Sox a 6-0 lead. Pettitte then walked Jeff Keppinger to load the bases. Yes, he faced Jeff Keppinger three times tonight and did not get him out once. That was it for Pettitte. Final line: 2.2 innings, 11 hits, seven runs, four strikeouts. Ouch.
Preston Claiborne came on to replace Andy and thought it would be fun to walk in a run himself, so he walked Rios to force one in to make it 7-0. He then got Konerko to ground out to A-Rod to end the inning. The White Sox later picked up a tack on run on an RBI double by Ramirez in the sixth of Shawn Kelley.
The Yankees offense was never able to make up for the pitchers tonight. Their lone run came in the top of the sixth: Back to back singles by Eduardo Nunez and Chris Stewart put runners on first and second with one out, and they moved up to third on a passed ball. A sac fly by Gardner drove in Nunez for the Yankees first and only run. That was all they'd do against Jose Quintana, who finished 6.2 innings allowing just one run, scattering eight Yankee hits. Matt Lindstrom relieved Quintana in the seventh and got Alfonso Soriano to fly out to end the inning.
Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan pitched the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, without allowing a run. The White Sox went to David Purcey in the top of the ninth, who got into a little bit of trouble but got Brett Gardner to hit into a double play to end the game. 8-1 White Sox.
- Alex Rodriguez made his season debut for the Yankees tonight and went 1-4. He singled to left in the first, flied out to medium deep center in the fourth, lined out to left in the sixth, and struck out looking in the eighth. He also made his plays defensively at third base. Honestly, he didn't look that bad. He was able to drive the ball twice, and it was certainly a night and day difference between what he was tonight and what he was in the postseason last year.
- Vernon Wells played first base tonight. I don't know why... but on a number of plays he clearly looked inexperienced over there. But I mean, he went 3-4 with a couple of doubles, so I won't complain about him too much tonight.
- If you want a guy to complain about, Chris Stewart looked awful behind the plate tonight. He hasn't been hitting the ball, and quite honestly it might be time to either give Romine more playing time, call up JR Murphy, or both.
- The Yankees will remain four games out of the second wild card spot in the loss column. That is not an insurmountable deficit by any means in early August. But if this team is going to make a move or some kind of push, it needs to start now. They currently have four teams ahead of them. They'll play some of them throughout the rest of the season, but they can't just rely on all of them to lose while the Yankees continue to play .500 baseball.