Rapid Reaction: Yankees 4, White Sox 0
June, 30, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What it means: That the month of June ends on a high note for the Yankees, who despite losing key players keep winning games. Their 4-0 win today was their 20th victory out of 27 games this month, in which they vaulted from third (1½ games back) to first in the AL East, four games ahead of Baltimore.
HiroKKKKKKKKKKK: Hiroki Kuroda needed 26 pitches to get through the first inning but somehow, not only lasted seven full innings in 93-degree heat, but stifled the ChiSox, allowing just three hits and tying his career high with 11 strikeouts. A big-time performance by a guy who, until CC Sabathia comes back, has been thrust, by experience and seniority, into the role of staff ace.
Home run derby: The Yankees hit three solo home runs, including one by the captain of the AL Home Run Derby team, Robinson Cano, who hit the first pitch of the sixth inning into the RF seats to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead. Just like that, Cano -- who hit 11 home runs in June -- has 19 bombs with six games to go before the break.
Wise choice: Girardi gave Nick Swisher a DH day, which meant Dewayne Wise, the Yankees best pitcher in Friday night's debacle, got the start in left (Raul Ibanez played right). The move paid off in the second inning when Wise crushed an RBI double to center to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. It only got better in the fifth when Wise deposited a baseball in the right-field seats to extend the lead to 3-0. By the time Wise singled in the seventh to go 3-for-3, it was getting ridiculous. Cano might have been the player of the month, but there's no question about who the Yankee of the Week was.
Just Grand: Curtis Granderson parked No. 23 in the second deck in right with one out in the first to account for the Yankees first run. Wonder how many more he will have to hit before he acknowledges that he is, indeed, a home run hitter.
Here's to you, Mr. Robertson: David Robertson bounced back from his horrendous ninth-inning on Thursday by pitching a spotless eighth today, with two Ks. See what starting out with a clean inning will do for a guy?
So sorry, Sori: Rafael Soriano should have had the day off, but when "lefty specialist'' Boone Logan walked Adam Dunn -- after just missing surrendering a home run to him -- with one out in the ninth, Joe Girardi was forced to go to his closer. Soriano got a double play to end the game, and tore his shirt out. Because of the heat, no doubt.
Watch out, Youk: Much to the delight of the crowd, Kevin Youkilis lost a foul pop fly off the bat of Ibanez in the second inning and had to duck for cover. The gaffe didn't cost him anything when Ibanez eventually popped out in fair territory -- only Youkilis, who was camped under it, lost that one, too, and had to be rescued by SS Alexei Ramirez.
Ker-Plunk: Right after Wise's HR, Chisox starter Jake Peavy hit Jeter on the rear end with a pitch. the next inning, Kuroda placed one right on Youkilis' elbow pad. No warning was issued by home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg, so it must have been coincidence. Right?
K-Day: Between them, Kuroda and Sox starter Peavy combined for 22 Ks, 11 each. Peavy toughed out the heat to go the distance (eight innings) for Chicago.
What's coming: The indefatigable Mike Mazzeo will be filling the blog while I'm writing a column on the Yankees' excellent -- and potentially disastrous -- month of June.
Tomorrow: Old-Timer's Day festivities begin at 11:15 a.m., followed by the geezer's game and then, at 2:05 p.m., the real game between the Yankees and White Sox. Phil Hughes (8-6, 4.48) gets the ball for the series finale, facing RHP Gavin Floyd (6-7, 4.10).