Robin Ventura: Yankee Old-Timer.
Gavin Floyd started the day by loading the bases with the first three hitters. He ended up allowing eight hits and five walks over 5 1/3 innings and 122 pitches.
Somehow, he allowed only four runs -- on a pair of two-run homers. Just like Saturday, it was left-handed hitters doing the damage. Eric Chavez tied the game with his blast to the short porch in the second inning, and Robinson Cano gave the Yankees the lead with a no-doubter in the third.
That would be it for the scoring, which was surprising considering how lively the park played early on, and how poorly Floyd pitched.
Floyd had trouble finding the strike zone all day, throwing just 70 of his 122 pitches for strikes. He avoided disaster in the first, getting Cano to tap into a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded in the first, which preserved a 2-0 lead. That would be the only 1-2-3 to his name, because he failed to work a clean inning the entire time.
It was surprising that Robin Ventura left Floyd in there to start the sixth, since he had thrown 110 pitches. He started the inning by walking Dewayne Wise, and left after getting Derek Jeter to ground out to short. But he didn't leave without exchanging words with A.J. Pierzynski on the mound, and giving him the hard stare in the dugout after the inning, which is more fodder for the theory that they do not work well together.
The bullpen helped ease the tension. Leyson Septimo stranded the runner on the second by recording two outs on two pitches, and ended up needing just 19 pitches to throw 2 1/3 scoreless innings (and that number includes two strikeouts and a Kevin Youkilis error). Nate Jones relieved Septimo to face Jeter, and struck him out.
But the fine effort by the rookie relievers was in vain, because the offense couldn't get anything going against Phil Hughes after a two-run first.
Alejandro De Aza led off with a double, and came around to score on Youkilis' single through the left side (although a replay showed De Aza didn't touch the plate while avoiding Russell Martin; thank you, Eric Cooper). Youkilis took second on the throw and moved to third on Adam Dunn's groundout. Paul Konerko couldn't drive him in (a drawn-in Jeter made a diving stab to his left), but Alex Rios picked him up with a single to left.
Rios tried for some more RBI in the third. After Konerko singled with two outs, Rios hit a drive to deep left center that hit off the top of the wall. Wise played the carom perfectly, and Konerko had to stay at third. He was a couple feet away from making it a 4-2 game, but it remained tied when Pierzynski popped out to end the inning.
Popouts were the order of the day, as Hughes and Rafael Soriano combined to allow 12 flyouts to just five groundouts (with 10 strikeouts mixed in). The Sox had trouble laying off the high fastball, and Dayan Viciedo looked completely out of sorts, striking out recklessly in his first three at-bats. He somehow did draw a walk to keep the game alive, but Soriano struck out Alexei Ramirez to end the game.
- The White Sox close out their seven-game road trip 4-3.
- The last time Hughes faced the Sox, he entered the game with an 8.24 ERA and threw a rain-shortened six-inning shutout. So, the Sox have seen and done worse.
- Raul Ibanez stole second with a massive jump off Floyd, which may have added to the battery's personal issues.