Rapid Reaction: White Sox 7, Yankees 3
August, 21, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
What it means: That Yogi was right. Nothing is over 'til it's over and the Yankees, who were running away with the AL East on July 20, are running into all kinds of trouble on Aug. 21. Their 7-3 loss tonight keeps their pursuers in Tampa Bay and Baltimore breathing down their necks and puts them in danger of being swept here tomorrow night.
No-go: Ivan Nova got hit hard once again, allowing six earned runs in six innings, including two home runs, to drop his record to 11-7. In his eight starts since the All-Star break, Nova is 1-3 with a 7.02 ERA and eight HRs allowed.
Kevin Yuck-ilis: He's not a Red Sox anymore, but Kevin Youkilis continues to be a thorn in the Yankees' side. Youk's grand slam off Nova in the fifth inning busted open a 2-2 game and probably gave Joe Girardi the idea, against his better judgment no doubt, of bringing in Joba Chamberlain. To throw one pitch.
Captain Climb: Last night, Derek Jeter caught a Nap -- Lajoie, that is -- on the first pitch of the game with a single that tied him for 12th place on the all-time hit list. Tonight, he needed just one pitch again, to pass Eddie Murray and into sole possession of 11th place on the list, and this time he did it with a home run, his 12th of the season, over the left-field fence. The 12 HRs are the most Jeter has hit since 2009, when he finished with 18.
Grand finale: The first-inning home run gave Jeter 3,256 hits -- exactly 1,000 fewer than all-time hits leader Pete Rose.
Move over, Mr. T: The home run also tied Jeter with his former manager, Joe Torre -- the man Jeter still respectfully refers to as "Mr. T" -- for 198th on the all-time HR list with 252. He also tied Bret Boone, Bobby Murcer and Prince Fielder , who probably will hit a few more.
Muscles Martin: Robin Ventura pulled Liriano after six innings and Russell Martin greeted his replacement, Jesse Crain, with a HR into the left-field seats on a 3-2 pitch leading off the seventh to make it 6-3 Chisox.
Binder brilliance: Adam Dunn hit a HR off Derek Lowe last night, so when Dunn came to the plate with runners at second and third and one out in the seventh, Girardi chose to walk him to load the bases for Paul Konerko, a risky proposition considering Konerko has 416 career home runs. But it turned out to be a stroke of genius when Lowe struck out Konerko on three pitches and got Alex Rios to ground out, holding the ChiSox scoreless.
Wise move?: For the second straight night, Dewayne Wise may have made the Yankees question the wisdom of dumping him. Wise hit a key home run off Joba Chamberlain Monday and followed with a career-high four hits tonight.
Royal flush: The best news of the night came from St. Petersburg, where the Kansas City Royals beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 1-0 in 10 innings, to snap the Rays' five-game win streak and insure that the Yankees lead in the AL East didn't shrink any further than it already has.
What's coming: A column exploring a prospect what seemed unthinkable a month ago, that the Yankees could find themselves in a fight for the division title, or worse, scrambling to salvage a wild-card berth.
What's next: The Yankees try to stave off a sweep in Chicago on Wednesday, sending out Phil Hughes (12-10, 4.23) against LHP Chris Sale (14-4, 2.72), first pitch at 8:05 p.m.