CHICAGO -- For one day, Ivan Nova shoved the questions about the Yankees' rotation to the back burner.
Another big performance by the offense didn't hurt, either.
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Behind an 11-hit attack that featured homers by Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira and four RBIs by Stephen Drew, the Yankees hammered the White Sox, 12-3, on Sunday in front of 38,840 at U.S. Cellular Field.
The victory allowed the AL East-leading Yankees (59-45) to complete a three-city, 10-game trip at 6-4 and return home with a six-game lead over the Orioles and Blue Jays. The Yankees scored at least 12 runs in three of the games and averaged 8.6 runs in the final nine games.
"This was a challenging road trip, but we stepped up," said Teixeira, whose 29th homer began a three-run fifth that made it 9-0. "We played well as a team. Six-and-four, you can't hate it going back to New York with an off day [Monday].''
Nova, who left his previous start in Arlington against the Rangers with "fatigue" in his right arm after five innings, looked just fine Sunday. He shut out the White Sox for five innings before allowing a two-out RBI single by Melky Cabrera in the sixth, his final inning.
Nova (4-3, 3.10), who took a foul ball off his pitching hand between innings in the dugout but was OK, allowed five hits and two walks. He struck out seven, matching a season high.
"It was a good day for the team and I felt great out there," he said. "I finally made pitches that I really like. Everything was working the way it was supposed to. The sinker was really doing a good job."
Drew had a two-run triple in the seventh, a two-out, two-run double in the fifth, a single and two runs scored. Ellsbury had three RBIs and Didi Gregorius added two hits and two RBIs.
The Yankees' bottom of the order -- Chase Headley, Gregorius and Drew -- went 7-for-12 with six RBIs. Gregorius went 14-for-32 with 12 RBIs on the trip and lifted his average to .260.
"Didi's been awesome, both sides of the ball," Alex Rodriguez said. "He's hitting the ball from line to line and now he's starting to drive in runs. It's been awesome."
Most of the damage came against righthander Jeff Samardzija (8-6, 4.35), who entered the game 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in his previous five starts but allowed nine runs, eight hits and two walks in 42/3 innings.
Things started poorly for Samardzija on the 98-degree day when Ellsbury whacked his second pitch, a 91-mph fastball, over the left-centerfield fence. It was Ellsbury's 12th career leadoff homer and first this season.
The Yankees blew it open with a five-run fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Gregorius drove in two runs with a single to left. After Drew's single loaded the bases, Ellsbury delivered a sacrifice fly and -- with Samardzija a strike away from getting out of the inning -- Brett Gardner added a two-run single to right for a 6-0 lead.
The Yankees drove Samardzija from the game in the three-run fifth, highlighted by Drew's two-run double that made it 9-0.
Yankees reliever Chasen Shreve allowed solo homers by Alexei Ramirez and Geovany Soto in the seventh, which made it 12-3.
The Yankees improved to 7-0-1 in their last eight series and haven't dropped a series since June 29-July 1 in Anaheim, when they lost two of three.
"I thought it was pretty good," Joe Girardi said of the trip. "You go to three cities, you win two series, tie another one. Some late nights, some really long games, a lot of heat. I thought our guys did a really good job."