Yanks' bullpen spoils Jeter's historic night

Yanks' bullpen spoils Jeter's historic night

Yanks' bullpen spoils Jeter's historic night
CHICAGO -- The blueprints of this Yankees season touted the bullpen as one of the club's biggest strengths, and despite absorbing heavy blows early in the year, it had continued to be so for much of the summer.

Suddenly, the soft underbelly of the relief corps is demanding attention. The White Sox slugged four home runs off four Yankees pitchers, with Alexei Ramirez's two-run blast off Boone Logan counting as the decisive blow in Chicago's 9-6 victory on Monday.

"It's tough to swallow," Logan said. "We've been scuffling as a whole down there lately. You can't go in there and do your job all year long; you're going to hit a couple rough patches."

The South Side slugfest spanned three hours and 44 minutes, seeing its fourth lead change when Ramirez unloaded on a no-doubt bomb in the seventh inning, filling the sky once more with the leftover haze of a fireworks display.

"You've got to grind through it and get through it," Logan said. "We all know that and talk about it. We're doing the best we can, it's just nobody's going well."

Chicago scored all nine of its runs between the fifth and eighth innings, posting a five-run fifth to interrupt what had been shaping up as an effective, if inefficient, outing by New York starter Freddy Garcia.

"The bullpen struggled tonight," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It hasn't been something they've done very often this year, so they'll bounce back. You know it's going to happen at times, but when it does, it kind of surprises you."

Dewayne Wise -- designated for assignment when the Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki last month -- started the power display with a two-run blast off Garcia, and Gordon Beckham crushed a game-tying shot facing Joba Chamberlain in the sixth inning.

Adam Dunn added the final Chicago homer, a solo insurance shot off Derek Lowe in the eighth inning. Understandably, much of the handwringing postgame concerned Chamberlain, as the right-hander has struggled since returning from a 14-month injury layoff and now owns a 9.45 ERA.

"I've been trying to work this out my whole career," Chamberlain said. "I've had to learn on the job since 2007. It's something that I'm used to. It's not catching me by surprise. Obviously, it is frustrating, but you can't give up."

The Yankees quickly built a three-run lead after two innings and reclaimed an advantage with a three-run sixth, despite the fact that Garcia was unable to complete five innings in his eight-strikeout outing.

"It's really frustrating for me because you've got a lead, 3-0," Garcia said. "And that's the game, you know? I was feeling good, man. I don't know. Something happened. I could not find the strike zone."

The Yankees chased starter Gavin Floyd after just 2 1/3 innings but paid for an inability to break the game open early. They settled for three runs against Floyd, with Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson contributing run-scoring hits.

Casey McGehee came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit RBI single in the sixth, driving in a go-ahead run for New York, but Beckham restored the tie for Chicago in the sixth with his homer.

"His command is inconsistent," Girardi said of Chamberlain. "We've said all along with Tommy John [surgery], a lot of times that's what happens. They're inconsistent when they come back."

The loss trimmed New York's advantage over the second-place Rays in the American League East to just four games, the smallest advantage the club has held since June 29.

It also spoiled a historic four-hit night for Yankees captain Derek Jeter, as he surpassed Nap Lajoie (3,252) on baseball's all-time hits list and tied Eddie Murray for 11th place with his 3,255th career hit.

Jeter also connected for his 251st career home run, a solo blast in the sixth inning, which produced the shortstop's 1,845th run scored, moving him past Craig Biggio for sole possession of 13th place all time.

"He just continues to have big days for us," Girardi said. "That's what he's doing. It is pretty amazing."

Garcia has done a solid job filling in since the Yankees' rotation lost Andy Pettitte to a fractured left ankle, and Monday marked the first time that the soft-tossing veteran was unable to complete five innings since being pushed back into a starting role.

Pitching around trouble to escape damage through four innings, Garcia ran out of steam in Chicago's five-run fifth, as the White Sox sent 10 men to the plate against four New York pitchers -- with all five runs charged to Garcia.

"When you've got the lead, you throw strikes, you get people out," Garcia said. "Things turn around like that. It's frustrating."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.