CHICAGO — The Yankees won the game (barely) but lost another player.
Not a sustainable ratio over the course of a long season.
They started a seven-game, two-city road trip Monday night by holding on for a 6-5 victory over the White Sox in front of 20,339, obviously good news for them in that they entered the night having lost 10 of 12 games.
Second baseman Starlin Castro, however, suffered a right hamstring strain while running out a grounder to end the top of the third inning. He said he felt the hamstring tighten while he was running so he “stopped before it popped.”
The prognosis for Castro, who has a .315/.350/.422 slash line, 12 homers and 45 RBIs in an All-Star-caliber season, was not immediately known. He said afterward that he “felt good walking” and hoped for the best when he undergoes an MRI on Tuesday.
Regardless, the Yankees seem to be assuming that Castro will go on the disabled list. They called up one of their top infield prospects, Tyler Wade, from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with the expectation that he will be in Chicago on Tuesday night.
Entering Monday night, Wade had a .313/.390/.445 slash line for Scranton. Wade, whom Joe Girardi called “versatile” and whom opposing team scouts have been raving about all season, had started 12 games at second base, 10 at third base, 43 at shortstop, two in leftfield, two in centerfield and one in rightfield.
All of this one day after Aaron Hicks suffered a right oblique strain that will sideline him, the outfielder estimated, for at least three weeks.
“It’s been a rough stretch for sure,” said Chase Headley, who had three hits and an RBI and is 15-for-33 in his last 10 games. “It seems like there’s been a lot in the last couple weeks and a lot of important players for us [injured]. We have our fingers crossed it’s not too serious, but we have to keep going. We’re going to run nine guys out there, whoever it is, and we need somebody to step up.”
It was to the advantage of the Yankees (41-33) that they were playing the dreadful White Sox (32-43), who were coming off being swept by the A’s and being outscored 18-5 over the weekend.
A White Sox offense that came in ranked 12th in the American League in runs (337), tied for 12th in homers (84) and 13th in OPS (.734) offered little resistance against rookie lefthander Jordan Montgomery. The White Sox defense was awful, committing three errors that led to four unearned runs.
After replacing Jonathan Holder and walking Todd Frazier to load the bases with two outs in the eighth, Dellin Betances struck out Matt Davidson to escape the jam.
The Yankees led 6-1 at that point, but after getting the first out in the ninth, Chasen Shreve allowed two singles and a three-run homer by Tim Anderson on an 0-and-2 pitch.
Aroldis Chapman caught Anderson’s drive in the bullpen, replaced Shreve and promptly allowed a single by Melky Cabrera and an RBI double by Jose Abreu to make it 6-5. Then Avisail Garcia grounded out to third and Frazier flied out to left to end it as Chapman earned his eighth save.
“It just seems like in the game of baseball, there aren’t too many easy wins,” Girardi said. “There just aren’t.”
Montgomery, who is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 42 1⁄3 innings in his last seven starts, allowed a solo homer by Frazier in the second inning, but that was all. He allowed that one run, five hits and a walk in six innings and struck out eight in moving to 6-4, 3.53.
“His slider was really good,” Girardi said. “Obviously, his curveball was really good again tonight and his changeup was pretty good, but I thought he threw some really good sliders. He continues to grow as a pitcher.”
“He’s been phenomenal for us,” Headley said. “We really needed a big start for us and he went deep into the game for us. Really, all you can ask from a young pitcher.”
Tyler Austin, called up Saturday when Chris Carter was designated for assignment, had two RBIs on his first home run of the season and one of the Yankees’ three sacrifice flies.
Trailing 1-0 after Frazier’s home run in the second inning, the Yankees scored three runs in the fourth and three in the sixth.