Sure the White Sox are a lousy team but with their ace Chris Sale in good form tonight this has to go down as one of the most satisfying wins of the year for the Yankees. Hiroki Kuroda was better than he’s been recently but it was still a struggle for him. An error by Eduardo Nunez in the first help lead to a run and Kuroda had to get two outs with the bases loaded. He left a pair of runners on in the second but then got through the next two innings without incident. Another mistake, this one from Robinson Cano when he botched the tag on a stolen base attempt with no out in the fifth, set things up the White Sox who broke a 1-1 tie with two runs. They added another in the seventh and that looked to be that.
Chris Sale, a true sidewinder if there ever was one, had his way with the Yankee lineup (his bending breaking ball to the lefties, Gardner and Cano, was unfair). But Cano got a fastball he could handle with one out and Jeter on first in the eighth, and lined a double to left.
That knocked Sale out of the game and then the Yankees went to work, chipping away, nickel-and-dime style–memories of the late ’90s! A single by Lil’ Sori drew the Yanks to within a run, a 3-2 base hit by Alex Rodriguez, and then a pinch-hit single by Curtis Granderson tied the game. All three hits came with two strikes. Mark Reynolds whiffed on a full count pitch, another tough at-bat, and then Nunez dropped the hammer on an inside pitch, inside and low, and pinged it to left for a double. It was the kind of hit that you never thought would stay fair. But it did, skipping down the left field line.
That gave Mr. Rivera a two-run lead. He struck out the first batter on a back-door cutter. Struck him out looking. Went out there on the 2-2 pitch, missed, and came right back to the same spot, made a better pitch, and got his man. A weak ground ball to second counted for the second out and then another strike out, again freezing the batter on a back-door cut fastball, ended the game. That’s the 9th time he’s recorded 40 saves in a season, tying a big league record.
We may only have a month left of Mariano, folks. No time like the present to savor it.
And this one here is a win to savor, ain’t it?
Final Score: Yanks 6, White Sox 4.
p.s. Girardi announced after the game that Hughes is headed to the pen; Huff will start in his place.