CHICAGO -- Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka was extremely sharp on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. White Sox starter Carlos Rodon was not, as New York pounded out a season-high 20 hits in a 9-0 victory that evened this three-game set at one win apiece.
Tanaka threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out six. Rodon struggled through five, matching a season high with 12 hits allowed, striking out three and walking two. The Yankees grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second and added two runs in the third on Chase Headley's second two-run homer in two days.
"It obviously makes things easier for me," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "They scored a run early in the game and they kept on scoring, so that was a plus. I kind of remind myself just to keep on doing what I'm doing, keep this tempo going. Overall, it was a good day."
Austin Romine went deep in the fifth, as the Yankees scored on Rodon in four of the five innings he pitched after leaving the bases loaded in the first. Brett Gardner's four hits and three hits each from Carlos Beltran and Headley sparked the attack. Seven Yankees had multi-hit games, including former Cub Starlin Castro, who has celebrated his first trip back to Chicago with six hits in two games.
"Oh yeah, they'll make you pay," Rodon said. "I threw some fastballs, some good pitches, and they hit them."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Banking on Chase: For whatever reason, Headley seems to see the ball well at U.S. Cellular Field. His homer off Rodon in the fifth inning was his second in as many games, giving him seven for the season, and it was his third in eight career games on the South Side. Headley enjoyed a three-hit game and now has 11 hits in 28 at-bats (.392) at the Cell for his second-highest average at any American League park.
"You take away the first month and a half, he's definitely swung the bat a lot better," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We need his contributions, too. We need it up and down the lineup."
Swing and a miss: Trailing by two, the White Sox put runners on second and third with one out in the second via Brett Lawrie's single and Alex Avila's double, sending Avisail Garcia to the plate. But Garcia struck out and J.B. Shuck flied out to left, leaving the White Sox scoreless.
Avila exits early: Avila was replaced by Dioner Navarro in the top of the sixth inning, leaving with a strained right hamstring. The veteran catcher will undergo an MRI on Wednesday morning to find out the extent of the damage and will go on the disabled list, with a corresponding move to come prior to the series finale. Avila spent time on the DL in late April with the same injury.
"If the second baseman was playing in his normal spot, that wouldn't have happened," said Avila, who sustained the injury trying to beat out a grounder in the fourth and actually went back out to catch the fifth. "I was trying to beat out the ball, and same hamstring." More >
Tanaka cruises: The healthy cushion gave Tanaka plenty of breathing room as he rolled through 7 2/3 innings, defeating the White Sox for the second time in three career starts. It marked the sixth time in Tanaka's last nine starts that he has permitted two earned runs or fewer, with seven quality starts over that span.
"I think he had everything going -- his sinker, his curveball, his slider and his split," Girardi said. "I think he used all his pitches, used them effectively. For the most part, he kept the ball out of the air; the ball seemed to be traveling tonight. He was ahead in the count and kept his pitch count down."
"Yeah, yeah. Just give it to a fan, better than throwing it away." -- Rodon, who threw his glove into the stands in frustration after completing the fifth
"There will be days where he's going to have that [flat stuff] and he has to figure out how to get through the game. That's something that he's still learning." -- Avila, on Rodon
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Alex Rodriguez's double in the first inning was his 3,111th career hit, moving him past Dave Winfield (3,110) for sole possession of 19th place on the all-time list. It was also his 547th double, tying him with Manny Ramirez for 29th all-time.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees:Michael Pineda draws the start on Wednesday; "Big Mike" has been much more consistent of late, posting a 2.75 ERA with 49 strikeouts in five June starts. He has struck out at least eight batters in five of his last six starts, and is second in the AL with a 10.88 K/9.0 IP ratio.
White Sox:Miguel Gonzalez makes his 12th start of the season and final start of the first half in Wednesday night's series finale. It will be his 14th career start vs. the Yankees; he has gone 3-4 with a 4.14 ERA against them.