Jacoby Ellsbury's HR in 10th inning lifts Yankees past White Sox
CHICAGO - In retrospect, Saturday's biggest break came when the White Sox decided John Danks was done after eight innings and 104 pitches.
Through those eight innings, the Yankees had made the struggling lefthander look like the AL's Cy Young Award favorite, managing zero runs and three hits. But when fill-in closer Ronald Belisario came on in the ninth, the Yankees' bats suddenly awakened.
After Belisario retired two of the first three batters, the Yankees scored three runs to tie it, then won it in the 10th, 4-3, on Jacoby Ellsbury's two-out homer off Zach Putnam.
Ellsbury was in a 4-for-48 slump before singling in the ninth and hitting a towering shot that cleared the leap of rightfielder Moises Sierra in the 10th. What changed late for the Yankees? "I guess they needed to switch pitchers," Ellsbury said.
David Robertson pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th for his 10th save in 11 chances, rebounding from the previous night, when he allowed Adam Dunn's walk-off two-run homer in the ninth in the Yankees' 6-5 loss. Robertson allowed a two-out single to Adam Eaton, who stole second, but struck out Gordon Beckham to end it.
"Last night was a tough one," Robertson said. "I was not going to let them down again."
With Chicago leading 3-0 in the ninth, Derek Jeter grounded out and Ellsbury singled. Mark Teixeira was called out on strikes and, with Alfonso Soriano batting, Ellsbury took second on defensive indifference.
Soriano, in a 6-for-32 slump, slashed an opposite-field double down the rightfield line to make it 3-1 and scored on Yangervis Solarte's opposite-field single to left. Ichiro Suzuki walked and Kelly Johnson, pinch running for Solarte, scored the tying run on Brian McCann's pinch-hit single, a blooper to short centerfield.
McCann, swinging first pitch, was jammed on a slider but still was able to put it in the outfield. "I hit two balls hard last night that got caught, hit a bleeder today and it's a hit," he said. "It's exciting in a big spot to get a bleeder like that."
Vidal Nuño settled down after a three-run first inning, allowing no runs and six hits in his final six innings. "After that first inning, he won us the game," McCann said. "He settled down."
Nuño started the eighth and was replaced by Matt Daley after Eaton's leadoff single. Daley and Matt Thornton combined for a scoreless inning and Dellin Betances (3-0) again was terrific, striking out two in a perfect ninth.
Ten pitches into Nuño's outing, the White Sox were on the board on singles by Eaton and Beckham and a double by Dayan Viciedo. Dunn's sacrifice fly and Alexei Ramirez's RBI groundout made it 3-0.
"I was up in the zone the first inning," Nuño said. "Making quality pitches [after that] was my big concern."
Joe Girardi said he is not concerned about an offense that has looked mostly inept against opposing starters on this trip. It was somewhat understandable when Jason Hammel, Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale did it, but not so much with Danks, who came in 3-4 with a 5.64 ERA, including 1-3 with an 8.72 ERA in his last four starts.
"The way this road trip has went, we'll take wins any way we can get them," Girardi said. "The losses we've had, I think they've all been one-run losses , so to be able to get a win today, down 3-0, I thought was really important. Maybe that's what gets us going."