The White Sox came back to life in the ninth inning after looking largely dead in innings four through seven.
Alas, they could only score four runs when they needed five.
A Yankee cakewalk turned into a nail-biter when the White Sox rallied from a five-run deficit to put the tying run on a second with one out, Avisail Garcia at the plate and Todd Frazier on deck.
Garcia bounced out and Frazier flied out to end the game, but their approaches weren’t to blame. They took good swings at hittable pitches, but after five straight White Sox reached to put the pressure on, the luck had to reverse eventually.
Good fortune started the rally. After Chasen Shreve retired Yolmer Sanchez on a groundout, Kevan Smith dropped an end-of-the-bat blooper to right for a single. Adam Engel followed with a weak grounder to the left side, but just enough toward the 5.5 hole that he could beat the cross-body throw easily.
Then the Sox actually started squaring up pitches. After swinging over two pitches down and away, Shreve left an 0-2 fastball up, and Anderson pounded it out to right for a three-run homer and a save situation, which prompted Joe Girardi to go to Aroldis Chapman.
The name-brand closer didn’t have much of an effect. Melky Cabrera shot a single the middle to bring the tying run to the plate, and Jose Abreu then put the tying run on second when he rifled a fastball to right center for an RBI double.
Rick Renteria then pinch-ran Alen Hanson for Abreu, but Hanson couldn’t put his wheels to use. He had to retreat when Garcia bounced a slider to third base, and then Frazier got under a hittable 0-2 fastball for the game’s final out (hittable, although 101 mph).
Chapman’s stuff couldn’t get one swinging strike out of 20 pitches, which was remarkable considering Jordan Montgomery got 19 swinging strikes over his seven innings and 100 pitches. Frazier hit a solo shot in the second inning, and then Montgomery kept the Sox in check afterward with a bunch of bad swings, especially on breaking balls in the dirt.
The Sox’ run-prevention effort became similarly unglued. David Holmberg did his thing by running into trouble in the fourth inning, but his pitching* deserved a little better than his line. He got BABIP’d early, and poor defensive compounded the bad breaks.
For instance, the Yankees’ three-run fourth: Holmberg created a problem by walking Aaron Judge to start the inning, but a Todd Frazier error put him on third base and enabled a sac fly to score him, tying the game at 1. A seeing-eye single and a line-drive single added another run, and then the Yankees added a third on a sac fly, although Chase Headley ran into the third out at third base when the throw was cut off.
Likewise, Holmberg gave up a solo shot to Tyler Austin, but then he fumbled Jacoby Ellsbury’s dribbler for an error (*that’s why I specified his pitching, because Holmberg’s defense contributed to the problem). Headley doubled Ellsbury to third to end Holmberg’s night, and two more unearned runs scored after he left. The first was on a sac fly that scored Ellsbury, and the second was when Matt Davidson dropped Anderson’s low-ish-but-still-eminently-catchable throw (and that run was only in position to score because of a Smith passed ball during that at-bat).
The White Sox’ third error of the game looked like it merely added insult to injury, but it ended up providing the sixth run the Yankees needed to win the game.
*Holmberg pitched 5 1⁄3 innings, allowing Renteria to get through the rest of the game using only Minaya and Michael Ynoa, who combined to throw 3 2⁄3 scoreless innings. Minaya’s two inherited runners scored, but a sac fly and an error is still a job well done.
*Anderson went 2-for-5 while wearing corrective glasses for the first time.