CHICAGO — It was a combination seldom seen in what to this point has been a lost Yankees season.
Standout starting pitching and production throughout a lineup the Bombers thought before the year would be far more balanced than in 2015 but hadn’t been.
It came together on this night at least, contributing to a 9-0 victory over the White Sox in front of 20,773 at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Yankees (41-42), now 2-3 on this three-city, 10-game trip, had a season-high 20 hits and received 7 2⁄3 shutout innings from Masahiro Tanaka.
Brett Gardner, in a 3-for-18 slide coming in, led the way with four hits.
Carlos Beltran, named just before the contest to his ninth All-Star team, had three hits, as did, and Chase Headley, who homered.
Mark Teixeira, Starlin Castro, Rob Refsnyder and Austin Romine had two hits, with one of the latter’s hits a home run. The Yankees went 5-for-18 with runners in scoring position.
“Everyone contributed,” Joe Girardi said. “A lot of times in a game like today, you get 18, 20 hits, there will be one guy who doesn’t get a hit, and that didn’t happen today.”
Tanaka allowed six hits and one walk in improving to 6-2 with a 3.12 ERA. He struck out six.
The righthander took the mound on his fifth day rather than the regular four days’ rest pitchers throw on, the continuation of a trend this season where he’s been better on extra rest. But that wasn’t the case a year ago and Girardi, for one, is tired of the narrative.
“I can’t pitch him on the sixth day every time, I can’t do it,” Girardi said in an exasperated tone. “I don’t have an extra guy to put in the bullpen. I know they’re different [the splits on four days’ vs. five days’ rest], but it’s something that he has do adjust to, that’s the bottom line. I know he’s better on extra days’ rest, a lot of guys are. There’s not a whole lot I can do about it because the schedule doesn’t allow me to.”
For his part, Tanaka, as always downplayed the splits and did again after Tuesday’s game.
“I’m not really worried about that, to be honest,” he said through his translator. “I prepare myself the best way I can. I think if you look two years ago, my numbers were better with only four days in between, so I don’t look at that too much.”
Tanaka was most pleased to have bounced back after his previous start, last week against the Rangers when he when he allowed six runs over six innings.
“I wanted to come back strong because of the last outing,” he said. “I was able to do that so I’m pretty satisfied with that.”
Overmatched White Sox lefthander Carlos Rodon allowed six runs (five earned) and 12 hits over five innings as he fell to 2-7 with a 4.50 ERA.
The Yankees, who scored at least one run in four straight innings (2-5), nearly made it five straight, stranding two in the first.
Refsnyder, starting at second base led off the second with a single and came in on Beltran’s RBI single with two outs. Alex Rodriguez, who doubled in the first, grounded sharply to short where Tim Anderson failed to handle the ball cleanly, the error bringing in Gardner to make it 2-0.
Castro started the third with a single and Headley came next, crushing a 1-and-0 pitch to left-center for his seventh homer of the season to make it 4-0.
Beltran doubled to lead off the fourth and scored on Teixeira’s one-out double for a 5-0 lead.
Romine’s solo homer with two outs in the fifth, his third of the season, made it 6-0. RBI doubles by Refsnyder and Hicks in the eighth made it 8-0.
Tanaka rarely was in trouble and, after escaping a two-on, one-out jam in the second, didn’t allow another RISP until the sixth.
“I think he had everything going,” Girardi said. “Sinker, curveball, his slider and his split. He used all his pitches, he used them effectively.”