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Open-and-shut case: Chad Green lifts Yanks to win over White Sox

Chad Green of the Yankees pitches in the

Chad Green of the Yankees pitches in the first inning during the game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday, June 15, 2019, in Chicago. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Nuccio DiNuzzo

CHICAGO — Some opening act.

With the exception of some shoddy pitching and fielding late, everything that took place afterward went pretty well, too.

On a day when the Yankees made the first of what’s expected to be several significant moves before the trade deadline, acquiring slugger Edwin Encarnacion, they snapped a three-game losing streak with an 8-4 victory over the White Sox on Saturday night in front of 36,074 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Yankees (42-27), who had lost eight of 11 coming in, improved to 5-0 this season when using Chad Green as their opener. Saturday night was the best of those five outings for Green, demoted in April when his season got off to a poor start. “He set the tone for us,” Aaron Boone said.

Green, with an equally devastating fastball and slider, struck out six in two scoreless innings, the continuation of signs that he is recapturing his form from 2017 and 2018, when he was among the best relievers in baseball. He has allowed two earned runs in his last 11 1⁄3 innings, walking one and striking out 19.

“It just gives the hitter a second look,” Green said of his fastball, the pitch he was especially pleased with and one that wasn’t good earlier in the season. “When guys sit on one pitch up here, it normally doesn’t go too well. Just trying to give them another look and have more consistency with that pitch.”

Just as impressive, and maybe more, was lefthander Nestor Cortes Jr. Cortes, 24, a 36th-round pick of the Yankees in the 2013 draft who pitched for Baltimore last season, again was terrific in relief. He followed Green to the mound and allowed two runs and six hits in five innings-plus, but that’s misleading. Cortes, who struck out seven, took a 7-0 lead into the eighth.

“The ability to change speeds, change eye levels by pitching up with his fastball and down in the zone with his secondary stuff and then he gives you some different looks with his windup and delivery that disrupt timing,” Boone said of Cortes, who has a 3.79 ERA in six outings. “He was working quick and pounding the strike zone.”

“First few times I was a little nervous, trying to get my feet wet here,” Cortes said. “Now I’ve become more confident. I’ve talked to myself on the mound, saying, ‘Make a pitch, don’t worry about the strikeout.’ It’s helped a lot.”

Gleyber Torres and Cameron Maybin homered, extending the Yankees’ streak to 18 straight games with at least one home run, the second-longest in franchise history behind the 25-game streak from June 1-29, 1941.

With the Yankees holding a 7-0 lead, Torres mishandled Yolmer Sanchez’s grounder to start the eighth — it was scored a hit — and Cortes allowed a single by Ryan Cordell. Jonathan Holder struck out Leury Garcia and got Tim Anderson to fly out, but DJ LeMahieu made a poor throw to second after making a diving stop of Jose Abreu’s hard grounder. James McCann’s three-run homer then made it 7-4.

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos walked in a run in the ninth to make it 8-4 and a non-save situation for Aroldis Chapman. The White Sox (34-35), who had won 11 of 16, struck out 16 times.

The Yankees, who dropped the first two games of the series, including a 10-2 drubbing Friday night, put the game away with a four-run fourth against Reynaldo Lopez. Gary Sanchez opened the scoring with a two-run double and Torres added a two-run homer later in the inning. Torres, whose homer was his 15th, added a sacrifice fly in the sixth to make it 5-0.

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