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J.A. Happ struggles again in Yankees' rain-shortened loss to White Sox

Happ, who has an 8.76 ERA in three starts, was staked to leads of 4-1 and 5-3 but left with the score tied at 5 and a man on first in the fifth.

Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ reacts after giving

Yankees starting pitcher J.A. Happ reacts after giving up a two-run home run to White Sox designated hitter Yonder Alonso during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium on Friday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

CC Sabathia will come off the injured list and make the first start of his final season on Saturday against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium. For a 5-8 Yankees team that has battled injuries and poor performances from its other two lefthanded starters, it’s not a moment too soon.

For example: J.A. Happ was charged with six runs in four innings-plus against the White Sox in a rain-shortened 9-6 loss on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

Happ (0-2, 8.76 ERA in three starts) was staked to leads of 4-1 and 5-3 but left with the score tied at 5 and a man on first in the fifth.  Jonathan Holder then gave up a two-run home run by Eloy Jimenez. It was the first career home run for the well-regarded rookie, who also homered off Chad Green in the seventh to give the White Sox an 8-6 lead.

James McCann followed with another homer off Green to make it 9-6 before the umpires called for a rain delay at 9:15 p.m. At 9:51, amid sustained rain, the game was called.

“Today’s a game that we should have won,” Happ said. “We had the lead and I take a lot of pride in not giving those up very often.”

While not talking specifically about Happ, general manager Brian Cashman said: “We do have a lot of poor play going on simultaneously with the current active roster. It’s early. I get it’s early, but no one wants to hear that it’s early.”

James Paxton, the Yankees’ other lefthanded starter, is 1-2, 6.00 in three outings.

Sabathia, 38, announced in spring training that this will be his final season, but don’t expect him to get all weepy about it until it’s over. “It’s hard to kind of take steps back and look at it like that,” he said. “I’ll just be ready to try to get everybody out for the White Sox tomorrow.”

That’s something Happ was unable to do. Leury Garcia hit the first pitch he threw for a double. Three batters later, the White Sox had a 1-0 lead on a single by Yonder Alonso.

But the Yankees went ahead 4-1 by scoring two in the first on a two-run single by DJ LeMahieu and two more in the second on Austin Romine’s RBI single and Aaron Judge’s sacrifice fly.

Happ gave up a two-out, two-run double by Garcia in the fourth to make it 4-3. Brett Gardner tomahawked a home run to rightfield with two outs in the fourth to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead, but Alonso hit a two-run homer in the fifth to tie the score at 5. After Yoan Moncada singled, Aaron Boone pulled Happ, and Holder allowed Jimenez’s two-run homer.

After the game, the Yankees optioned lefthanded reliever Stephen Tarpley to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Sabathia.

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