CHICAGO — The offense made sure there was no drama this night involving a beaten-up Yankees bullpen.
Scoring three first-inning runs off wild White Sox starter Carlos Rodon and adding five off overmatched reliever Jake Petricka in the sixth, an inning that included Aaron Judge’s MLB-leading 27th homer, the Bombers cruised to a 12-3 victory Wednesday night in front of 15,259 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
With Matt Holliday going to the disabled list Wednesday — meaning the Yankees essentially lost their 2-3-5 hitters over three days as Aaron Hicks and Starlin Castro also went to the DL in the stretch — Joe Girardi sent out a makeshift lineup that included Austin Romine at first base, rookie Miguel Andujar at DH and Tyler Wade, another rookie, in left.
“We saw a lot of talent in spring training when those guys would play,” Girardi said afterward.
The collective group came through for the now tied-for-first Yankees (42-34), who have one more here against the putrid White Sox (33-44) before moving on to face the AL’s top club, Houston, on Friday.
Wade, 22, was called up Tuesday and made his big-league debut; Andujar, also 22, did so Wednesday and took advantage of the opportunity, going 3-for-4 with a walk and four RBIs. He drove in two with a first-inning single in his first career at-bat, and two more in the ninth with a double.
“What an amazing day,” said Andujar, who was promoted to the big leagues just a week after his promotion to Triple-A. “I’m never going to forget this date.”
Wade, who walked in his first career at-bat Tuesday, collected his first big-league hit Wednesday, an RBI double to jump-start the five-run sixth that turned a 3-2 lead into a far more comfortable 8-2 one.
Masahiro Tanaka, though not as good as his previous outing when he struck out nine over eight scoreless innings, got the job done, allowing two runs and six hits over six innings.
Tanaka (6-7), along with the offense, provided a fatigued bullpen, which blew its 14th save chance of the season the night before, a much-needed break from high-leverage innings.
Highlighting the sixth inning, of course, was Judge, who lasered a two-run shot to left on a 2-and-0 changeup. As the rookie rounded first base, he threw an amused glance at a group of fans in right who had been riding him from the start.
“I just like having some fun with the fans,” Judge said smiling. “They were heckling me pretty good out there, I just gave ’em a little peek when I was rounding the bases. Just having some fun with them. It was cool.”
Rodon allowed three unearned runs in the first, in large part because he couldn’t find the strike zone. Making his first start of the season, the lefty walked three and threw two wild pitches in the 37-pitch inning. Brett Gardner scored the Yankees first run on a throwing error by shortstop Tim Anderson and Andujar, later in the inning, grounded a two-out, two-run single back up the middle to make it 3-0.
“I was a little nervous for my first at-bat in the big leagues,” he said. “But following that everything was normal.”
After the bottom of the third — an inning that included a second wild pitch charged to Tanaka — Girardi was seen in the dugout giving what appeared to be a rather direct tutorial to Sanchez on the art of blocking balls.
“I was just sharing some catching tips, some things about blocking balls,” said Girardi, who added he had no issues with Sanchez’s effort. “It’s our job to teach.”
Sanchez didn’t make it even halfway down the first base line on a ground smash in the fifth that Todd Frazier turned into a 5-4-3 double play. But Girardi said the catcher not busting it out of the box was “by design” because Sanchez has been dealing with a groin issue since the Oakland trip.
“It gets better every day,” Sanchez said through his translator. “Joe told me to be smart running so you don’t get hurt again.”