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White Sox 4, Yankees 3: Surviving to split

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Bullpen carries one-run margin across finish line after lengthy delay to start

New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

The White Sox made the Yankees’ exit from Chicago a difficult one.

First, the game was delayed by two hours and 50 minutes, and with no common off days on the schedule that wouldn’t be complicated by other matters, the teams had every incentive to wait it out and get the game in.

Then the Yankees lost their rookie right fielder, Dustin Fowler, before he could even get to the plate. He crashed into the side wall trying to chase down a Jose Abreu foul ball in the bottom of the first inning — and he was set to lead off the second. The resulting injury was as bad as it looked. He suffered an open rupture of a his patellar tendon, and it required emergency surgery by the White Sox’ team doctor.

And if that wasn’t enough, the White Sox were able to pound Luis Cessa early and hold on late to salvage the split.

With Avisail Garcia nursing a sore knee, Rick Renteria deployed a makeshift lineup featuring Yolmer Sanchez batting fifth, Willy Garcia making his first start in 11 days and two catchers. And it happened to be that part of the lineup making all the offense happen.

OK, that and some help from the Yankee defense. For instance, Rob Refsnyder probably should’ve caught Adam Engel’s two-out drive to deep right, but he dropped the ball on the warning track for a run-scoring two-base error. Engel then scored when Omar Narvaez scooped a single to left for a 2-1 White Sox lead.

After James Shields gave up a tying run in the top of the fourth, the Sox answered with two runs on their own. Sanchez walked, and Engel was plunked two pitches later. Both runners advanced on Omar Narvaez’s groundout to first, and both runners scored when Willy Garcia roped the first pitch he saw to left for a double, which gave the Sox a 4-2 lead.

James Shields and the bullpen were able to hold it, and Melky Cabrera helped.

In the fourth, Cabrera stopped the Yankee rally from generating a crooked number when he flagged down Ronald Torreyes’ warning track drive on a bounce off the wall. The hit drove in a run and had a chance of scoring another, but Cabrera spun and fired to second instead of the cutoff man between third and home. The decision surprised the hell out of Torreyes, who probably wasn’t expecting the ball to come his way with a runner potentially rounding third, and Torreyes couldn’t hit the brakes in time.

After the White Sox took the two-run lead in the fourth, Cabrera kept another potential run off the board when he made a leaping catch at the wall on an Aaron Judge drive. Cabrera had some fun at the Yankees’ expense:

Shields eventually gave up a third run in the sixth when a leadoff triple came around to score, but he managed to get the game into the seventh for a nice comeback start.

After he departed with one out in the seventh, Dan Jennings looked like a real bullpen lefty by making Brett Gardner look silly, then induced a groundout from Didi Gregorius. Anthony Swarzak worked around a leadoff single and a two-out steal to strand the tying run at second in the eighth, and David Robertson survived hard contact and a date with Judge by striking him out on a curve to end the game.

The White Sox bullpen had to be that good, because its offense couldn’t generate anything against New York’s relievers.

  • White Sox bullpen: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Yankees bullpen: 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K

Record: 34-44 | Box score | Highlights