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White Sox 9, Yankees 2: Robert exits, but offense comes alive

That feeling when you remember that you’re allowed to win multiple series in a row

New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox
RBIs number 26, 27, and 28 for Elvis Andrus.
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The White Sox took their second consecutive series since their trade deadline dismantling, hanging on to beat the Yankees, 9-2, in a game that we can only wish we had more of over the last two years.

The top of the Sox order went quietly in the first, save for a rare Luis Robert Jr. walk. But the Yankees’ decision to use Ian Hamilton as an opener in front of typical starter Luis Severino didn’t solve the issues that have been plaguing the two-time All-Star this season. Yoán Moncada welcomed Severino in the game with a hustle double to lead off the second, and he came home just moments later on a Yasmani Grandal single.

Five pitches later, Oscar Colás deposited a hanging slider into the left field bleacher bank to make it 3-0.

The White Sox weren’t done with Severino. It didn’t matter that Robert was the seventh batter he faced instead of the third: Robert singled, stole second, stole third, and then scored on Moncada’s second double of the night — his first two-hit game since May 26.

It was an encouraging sign to see more aggressiveness on the bases from Robert, who now has eight steals in 23 games since the All-Star break after totaling eight in the entire first half. Robert has spoken repeatedly about committing to staying healthy as a primary goal for the season, and his success to this point is showing up in his play. His average sprint speed of 28.6 mph is Robert’s highest since his rookie year, more than half a tick up from where it sat in 2021 and 2022. He’s credited with 10 Outs Above Average and nine runs saved in center field, third in MLB behind Fernando Tatis Jr. and Julio Rodríguez. Those 16 steals are a career high, and the eight since the break are easily the most he’s ever had in such a stretch.

Unfortunately, Robert suffered a sprained pinky finger while making the swim move that allowed him to evade Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s tag while stealing third base, and the team MVP was replaced in the top of the inning by Trayce Thompson. We await further news on the severity of the injury.

The Yankees finally got on the board in the fourth, when a walk-single-wild-pitch sequence led to an RBI ground out opportunity for Giancarlo Stanton. Fortunately, the offense wasted no time getting it back (?), first driving Severino from the game in their half of the game and then, an inning later, putting a run on his successor — you may have heard of him — Keynan Middleton. Thompson, like the player he replaced, singled and stole second base before scoring on a Gleyber Torres error, and the score was 5-2.

The Yankees wouldn’t go down totally without a fight. Jimmy Lambert came on for the third time since his return to the big club, and Stanton greeted him rather rudely:

Lambert simply didn’t have it tonight. Stanton’s bomb was followed by two singles and a walk, and Lambert’s night was over, lifted for Aaron Bummer. Amazingly, against all we’ve come to expect over the last two seasons, it worked. Bummer was able to locate all of his pitches despite the loaded bases. He struck out Oswaldo Cabrera looking on a filthy front-door sinker, and for once, the Sox defense was perfectly positioned to execute the double-play ground ball that Bummer coaxed out of Kyle Higashioka.

The Yankees tried it again in the eighth. Bummer walked leadoff pinch-hitter Anthony Volpe and was subsequently removed in favor of Gregory Santos, who managed to bear down for a relatively stress-free three outs, working around a walk to Torres. Just like on Monday, the Yankees simply missed too many chances, and eventually the Sox put it out of reach. Unlike the Yankees, Chicago didn’t waste its chance with the bases loaded, scoring three on one swing from Elvis Andrus in the bottom of the eighth.

After a quiet 0-for to start the game, Tim Anderson iced the cake with his first single of the game, a semi-bloop to center field that scored Andrus and brought the score to its final resting place of 9-2.

Hamilton was once the White Sox closer of the future, but Santos looked every bit the closer of the present in the ninth, averaging 98.8 mph on his sinker and supplementing it with a slider whose speed he’s gotten quite good at varying, sitting as low as 88 mph and as fast as 92-93 mph. He set down the bottom of the Yankees lineup 1-2-3, and the Sox had their second consecutive series win.

Where they go from here, who knows. The White Sox are staying at home, in the literal sense, off tomorrow while waiting for Milwaukee to make the trip down 94 for the weekend. Metaphorically, it figures to be a weird six weeks, as we ride out a lost season with a braintrust that nonetheless continues to allot a significant proportion of playing time to Andrus and Gavin Sheets.

Wherever they go, we’ll be following, for better or worse.

Six Pack of Stats

Always buy the dip.

Pressure Play
The Leverage Index (LI) peaked at 3.76 tonight, when Bummer struck out Cabrera in the first step of getting out of the bases-loaded, no-outs jam.

Pressure Cooker
You can probably guess this one — Bummer’s 2.77 pLI was easily the highest of the game.

Top Play
The first big cut was the deadliest, as Colas’ longball added 15.5% to the Sox chances to win (WPA), the biggest play of the game.

Top Performer
Aaron Bummer did his job in spite of the leadoff walk, picking up a game-high .226 WPA (22.6%).

Hardest Hit
Stanton’s ding dong left the bat at 111.3 mph, impossible for most, and run-of-the-mill for number 27.

Weakest Contact
Oscar Colás grounded out in the eighth on a ball hit just 54.1 mph.

Luckiest Hit
The Yasmani Grandal single through the formerly shift-occupied hole in the left side helped put the game away in the eighth and supposedly had a tiny, .050 expected batting average.

Toughest Out
Aaron Judge’s soft line drive in the eighth inning was good for a force out at second despite a .780 xBA.

Longest Hit
Stanton was the velo king, but Oscar Colás’ blast went farther, soaring 430 feet into the night.

Magic Number: 28
With his bases-clearing triple tonight, Elvis Andrus reached 28 RBIs, equaling his total from last season with the White Sox; this year, it took him twice as many games, however.