Really, it was only two mistakes Luis Severino made across eight mostly terrific innings. But because of the even better performance by Miguel Gonzalez, they were enough to get him and the Yankees beat for the first time in more than a week.
Their eight-game winning streak came to an end in a 4-1 loss in front of 30,075 on a chilly Tuesday night, marking the Yankees’ first home loss of the season.
The Yankees (9-5) managed to make it interesting in the ninth. They loaded the bases with one out, but former Yankee David Robertson, though he allowed an inherited runner to score, was able to close it out for his fourth save.
After Starlin Castro worked a bases-loaded walk to make it 4-1, Aaron Judge grounded into a 6-4 force to end it.
“We always feel like we’re in it,” Judge said. “We got the guys on but we just didn’t get the job done.”
The 23-year-old Severino, coming off a career-high 11 strikeouts in his previous outing, for the most part got the job done, striking out 10. He allowed four runs (three earned), all on home runs, and three hits. Severino did not walk a batter.
“I think he pitched tremendous,” catcher Austin Romine said. “You take back two pitches. He punched out 10 and didn’t walk anybody. I thought he was locating his fastball even better this time. Changeup was in the mix and his slider was pretty dominant. We were able to do a lot of good things with it; throw it back door, throw it back foot. I was happy with the way he was working out there.”
But again, two pitches cost Severino, as did a critical error by shortstop Pete Kozma, a veteran known for his defensive abilities.
Leury Garcia went down to get a fastball that caught a bit too much of the plate in the third inning to make it 1-0.
In the seventh, after Kozma booted a sure 6-4-3 double-play ball and Jose Abreu popped out on an ill-advised bunt, Avisail Garcia launched a 2-and-0 slider for his third homer and a 4-0 lead for the White Sox (7-6).
“I’ll make that (play) 101 out of 101 times, that hasn’t happened to me in four or five years,” Kozma said. “That’s all me. I make that play, there’s two outs, nobody on and he doesn’t have to make that pitch.”
Severino, who thought his fastball, slider and changeup were all good, took the heat off of Kozma. “That’s part of the game,” Severino said. “He’s not trying to make an error. Pete Kozma is a great defensive player.”
Garcia improved to 22-for-50 (.440) on the season, with three homers and 13 RBIs.
Gonzalez, a 32-year-old righthander, flummoxed the Yankees plenty in his years in Baltimore and did again last season with Chicago (2.31 ERA in two starts). He retired the first 12 he faced Tuesday in improving to 2-0. Gonzalez, who allowed one run and three hits in 8 1/3 innings, improved to 5-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 15 starts against the Yankees. None of their hits off him left the infield.
“(Our hitters) said his stuff was moving all over, and he was living on the edges,” Joe Girardi said. “We didn’t have a hit out of the infield tonight, so his stuff was really good, really late movement. We just had a hard time squaring him up. He was really good.”
Judge said Gonzalez pitched effectively to “both sides of the plate.”
“Sometimes,” Judge said, “you just have to tip your cap.”