CHICAGO — The Yankees departed for home feeling a heck of a lot better about themselves than when they pulled into the Windy City in the early hours Monday.
But even after completing a three-game sweep of the awful White Sox with a 7-3 victory, the Yankees, who got a solid outing from Luis Severino and a grand slam from Giancarlo Stanton, didn’t find themselves all that much closer to the Red Sox.
The Yankees, swept in a four-game series in Beantown over the weekend, started this series 9½ games behind in the AL East. With the Red Sox beating the Blue Jays again Wednesday, the Yankees (71-42) are nine back as they start a four-game series Thursday night at home against the Rangers. It’s the continuation of a favorable schedule that lasts until Sept. 3, when the Yankees start a three-game set in Oakland.
“Good to get a sweep, put Boston in the past, do what we needed to do,” said Stanton, whose first grand slam as a Yankee capped a six-run second that turned a 2-0 deficit into a 6-2 lead. “Have a big homestand coming up.”
The Yankees, who clawed out a 13-inning victory on Tuesday, efficiently dispatched the White Sox (41-73) Wednesday.
Severino, though not the dominant pitcher he was for much of the first half, certainly was better than he’s been recently. The righthander, 1-3 with an 8.28 ERA in his previous five starts, allowed three runs and seven hits, at one point retiring 11 straight.
“Hopefully another step forward for him,” Aaron Boone said.
It was Severino’s longest outing since going seven scoreless innings June 26 at Philadelphia. Severino (15-5, 3.11), with a slider Boone said was “the best he’s had in a while,” struck out eight and did not walk a batter.
“I think it was,” Severino said of Boone’s assessment of the slider. “Larry [Rothschild] and I worked a lot on it in the bullpen, to get that shape. It helped me out a lot.”
Stanton, who is hitting .331 with 12 homers and 37 RBIs in his last 47 games, collected his sixth career grand slam. He sliced a ball down the rightfield line off Lucas Giolito. It was Stanton’s team-best 27th homer (the injured Aaron Judge has 26).
Aaron Hicks homered in the fifth, his 19th, making it 7-2.
After the Yankees forced Giolito (7-9, 6.23) to throw 24 pitches in a scoreless top of the first, Severino put them in a hole in the bottom half.
He struck out leadoff man Yoan Moncada swinging at a slider, but three straight hits followed. Yolmer Sanchez singled to left and Jose Abreu laced a double into the gap in left-center to make it 1-0.
Daniel Palka lined a slider to center for a single that brought in Abreu to make it 2-0. Severino then retired 11 straight, a streak Tim Anderson broke with a leadoff homer in the fifth that made it 7-3.
Gleyber Torres walked on four pitches to start the second-inning rally. After Miguel Andujar struck out, Neil Walker singled to left. Austin Romine’s RBI single to left made it 2-1, and Shane Robinson singled to right, tying it. Brett Gardner was hit on the right foot, loading the bases for Stanton, who delivered his game-changing swing.
“It’s not easy for us right now,” Boone said. “For us to come in here and grind out these wins, I think is huge. I’m really proud of these guys for bouncing back.”