By Scott Merkin and Bryan Hoch
MLB.com |@BryanHoch |
CHICAGO -- Miguel Gonzalez has thrown seven solid innings in each of his last two starts, but on Wednesday the White Sox gave him some support, and they cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field.
"Just staying focused and not trying to do too much, staying within myself and letting the defense play," said Gonzalez of the two starts. "And especially staying down in the zone is really important. The rest of the pitches are going to be there as long as I'm down and staying aggressive in the zone."
Gonzalez allowed one hit in each of the first three innings, but he retired 14 of the last 16 hitters he faced, striking out three and walking one. Michael Pineda looked equally effective in retiring the first five hitters of the game, but the White Sox put together a four-run, two-out rally in the second that produced all the offense they would need.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Don't run on Eaton: It doesn't matter to White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton whether you are fast or slow on the basepaths -- run on him at your own risk. Eaton threw out Ellsbury trying to stretch a single into a double leading off the third for his 13th outfield assist this season. Eleven of them have come while playing right.
"All defense is is effort and concentration, day in and day out," Eaton said. "It was nice to be able to keep Ellsbury off second base there early in the game. And it's kind of our focal point -- keep those guys off the bases, keep them out of scoring position."
"We've been seeing Adam playing right field; I think his range as well as his arm has just been a big factor," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Guys are testing him, and they don't quite realize how strong his arm is, and he's accurate. He's made some deep throws. People are challenging him, and he's coming up and showing that he's got the skill set to throw people out."
Two-out trouble: Pineda has struggled to record the final out of innings all year long -- entering play on Wednesday, opponents were batting .363 with an 1.129 OPS in that situation against him -- and the issue cropped up again in the second inning. Pineda had two outs and nobody on before watching four White Sox runs score. The effort was a stumble after he had permitted one run over six innings in each of his last two outings.
"It didn't happen today," Pineda said. "After the two outs, I was working good in the count and getting two strikes early. I tried to finish it off with my slider, but my slider today was not the best slider. They got a couple base hits."
Big hit for Garcia: With an average below .240 and a RBI total below 30, Garcia often has been derided for not living up to his vast potential. But he came through when the White Sox needed him most, delivering a two-out single to score the first run off Pineda in the second.
Evo enters late: Bumped to the bullpen earlier this week, Nathan Eovaldi made his first relief appearance as a Yankee, working the final two innings scorelessly while hitting 102 mph on the radar gun. All but four of Eovaldi's previous 126 big league outings had come as a starter, with those four coming during his 2011 rookie season as a member of the Dodgers.
"He threw the ball all right. For the first time out of the bullpen, I thought he did a decent job," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
"We have won five series in a row. I think that's really important. Guys are loose right now and getting after it. We're doing a really good job." -- Gonzalez
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Yankees successfully challenged a call at second base in the second inning, when Gregorius was initially called out on a stolen-base attempt. The review overturned the call, showing that Gregorius' left hand eluded the tag from shortstop Anderson. But Gregorius was stranded there, as Chase Headley struck out and Aaron Hicks grounded out.
In the ninth, the Yankees successfully challenged what was initially ruled a game-ending double play. After a review that lasted an estimated six minutes and 23 seconds, Anderson was shown to have missed the second-base bag before throwing to get Gregorius at first base. Starlin Castro was thus ruled safe at second on a 4-6-3 putout.
ROUND NUMBER ALERT
Pineda struck out Anderson swinging for the second out of the fifth inning for his 500th career strikeout. Pineda struck out five overall and leads the Yankees with 113 this season.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees:Ivan Nova draws the start as the Yankees open a four-game series with the Indians at Progressive Field on Thursday for their first meetings with the Tribe this season. Nova showed encouraging signs in his last outing, holding the Padres to a run over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision. Trevor Bauer has the ball for Cleveland.
White Sox: The final series of the first half begins on Friday with All-Star Chris Sale on the mound against the Braves. Sale enters this contest with a Major League-best 14 victories, and he sits atop the American League in innings pitched (120) and WHIP (0.983).