The heat combined with the Windy City just makes for a rather miserable day at the park. Except it wasn’t so much, especially when the runs started combining with the shade as the day progressed. And for the final game in Chicago and on this road trip (and the last game outside the Eastern Time Zone), the Yankees decided to end it on a bang.
Ivan Nova got the start today as the Yankees were looking for a SuperNova kind of day. He delivered a pretty good outing — 90 pitches over 6 innings, giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run, striking out 7 White Sox batters. Actually, keeping the White Sox scoreless for most of the game, Nova didn’t allow a run until the 6th inning — a lead-off walk scored on a 2-out single to get the White Sox on the board.
Chasen Shreve came on in relief in the 7th inning and got himself into some trouble, very un-Chasen-like. After an initial strikeout, Shreve gave up a solo home run, and then after another out, another solo home run. When he lucked out on a ground-rule double play on fan interference (seriously, people, keep your arms and gloves and children on the fan side of the fence at all times), it was time to call on the bullpen to shut down whatever rally the White Sox were working on.
And it was on to Branden Pinder for the final out of the 7th, keeping the White Sox from doing much in the 8th too. Andrew Miller, though not in a save situation, came on for the 9th to deliver an absolute nasty 1-2-3 9th inning in just 5 pitches.
But like I said before, the runs started pouring in and racking up early. Right at the top of the 1st, Jacoby Ellsbury led-off with a solo home run up center field. Then in the 4th, the Yankee offense really began. With 1 out, McCann singled, Beltran walked, and Headley singled to load the bases. Didi Gregorius’ single scored McCann and Beltran before Stephen Drew loaded the bases again with a single. Ellsbury’s sacrifice fly scored Headley, moving Gregorius and Drew to scoring position. They both did on Brett Gardner’s single.
In the 5th, Mark Teixeira hit his 29th home run of the season, a lead-off solo shot to right field. Two outs later, Headley was hit by a pitch, Gregorius walked, and it was time for the White Sox to change out its pitcher, the starter getting out after 101 pitches (in less that 5 innings). Not that their reliever had any better luck with the Yankees’ hot bats, as Stephen Drew’s double scored Headley and Gregorius to widen the Yankee lead even further.
And in the 7th, the Yankees capped their offense with a few more runs. Headley led-off with a double, moving to 3rd when Gregorius reached on a fielding error. They both scored on Drew’s triple (he fell a home run short of a cycle today, by the way). Drew scored on Ellsbury’s ground out to finalize the Yankees’ big offensive day.
The damage to the White Sox was done, with their pitching staff (their starter and his reliever splitting the game in half) giving up 11 hits, 12 runs (11 earned), and 4 walks. Like I said yesterday, some days, you just don’t have it. And fortunately for the Yankees, today’s “not having it” team was the White Sox.
Final score in Chicago: 12-3 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1. (Yankees win the road trip too, 7-4.)
Minor roster moves today: reliever Diego Moreno was placed on the DL today with some elbow pain. In his place, Pinder was recalled. I don’t know what’s worse for this paragraph — the moves due to injury or the moves due to poor performance. It’s always half-good and half-bad news, this section of the blog. Bad news for the person injured or doing poorly, and good news for the guy who gets a chance because of the problem. Nothing about this is ideal, but it’s all part of the game and the business of baseball.
And isn’t that a little bit like life too. Sometimes, we get opportunities because someone’s path is interrupted (either by force or by choice) and then have to work our way up as far as possible while we still have this brief moment of possible. Sometimes, we’re the one who are forced to take a different path or a break from the path, and then sit on the sidelines watching someone else rise to the opportunity we wanted. It’s not always a clear-cut point A to point B kind of life, but it’s making the most of every turn, stop, pause, opportunity, possibility, or step along the way. Because you don’t know how long this segment is going to last.
Safe flight, boys, and have a great day off. It’s back in the Bronx for the rivalry series on Tuesday.