Yankees use big 3 in bullpen to secure 2-1 win over White Sox
NEW YORK >> Yankees manager Joe Girardi unwrapped his new bullpen toy Saturday and unleashed it on the Chicago White Sox.
Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman combined for eight strikeouts and scoreless relief as New York used its three big arms in the same game for the first time to secure a 2-1 victory.
"We knew these would be the type of games that we would use all three of them, and that if we could line them up, it'd be pretty good," Girardi said.
Ivan Nova pitched neatly into the sixth inning to give New York's ailing rotation a much-needed boost. Aaron Hicks hit an RBI double and Didi Gregorius, who went 3 for 3, added a run-scoring single with two outs in the second.
That was enough to squeeze past the stingy White Sox (24-13), who began the day with the best record and lowest ERA (3.13) in the American League. Todd Frazier hit his 12th home run for Chicago, which has lost three of four overall — and 11 of the past 14 matchups with New York.
"If you don't get anything early, you're going to end up with that back end of the bullpen," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "All of them are closers, really."
Jose Quintana (5-2) pitched seven strong innings in a hard-luck loss. The left-hander, let go by the Yankees when he was in the low minors, entered leading the AL with a 1.38 ERA that rose to 1.54. He won his previous four starts, compiling a 0.64 ERA over 28 innings.
Making his second effective start this season in place of injured CC Sabathia, and only hours after the last-place Yankees put struggling Luis Severino on the disabled list with a strained triceps, Nova (2-1) gave up four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Featuring a sharp sinker, he got 13 of his 17 outs on grounders and handed a 2-1 lead to the imposing bullpen after walking Frazier on his 74th pitch.
"I don't think you can ask for much more," Girardi said. "Nova is doing his job. Wherever we've put him, he's done his job this year. He's thrown the ball well."
From there, it was lights out.
Betances struck out all four batters he faced, Miller fanned two in a one-hit eighth and Chapman whiffed a pair in a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save, hitting 102 mph on the stadium radar gun and finishing a crisp game that took only 2 hours, 24 minutes.
"It was fun. I think a lot of the guys enjoyed it," Betances said. "Chapman is like a video game. He's impressive. He's a show every time he goes out there."
It was exactly the sort of end-game formula the Yankees had in mind when they acquired Chapman from Cincinnati for four prospects in December. The hard-throwing lefty joined the team Monday after serving a 29-game suspension under baseball's new domestic violence policy.
"It seems like it's a recipe for victory," Miller said.
New York relievers have thrown 15 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
"That's the strength of our team is get the lead and hand the ball off to those guys down there," catcher Brian McCann said. "It's a luxury for the whole team. It's impressive what they're able to do."
One day after Chicago ace Chris Sale threw a six-hitter for a 7-1 win in the series opener, the Yankees mustered little offense again.
Quintana walked Chase Headley with two outs in the second before Hicks doubled over the head of right fielder Adam Eaton. Gregorius followed with a single that made it 2-0.
Gregorius had to stop at third on Austin Romine's ground-rule double, and New York never scored again.
Not a problem, though.
"We got the three-headed monster to finish the game," Gregorius said.
Frazier homered in the fourth.
"It seemed like Girardi couldn't wait to get Betances in there," Frazier said. "They dominated."
ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Quintana went 10-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 30 games (12 starts) for high-Class A Tampa in New York's farm system in 2011. He became a minor league free agent after the season and wanted a spot on the 40-man roster to re-sign with the Yankees, general manager Brian Cashman said. They balked. "We liked him. We didn't love him," Cashman said Saturday. "He was a performer, but not someone with ceiling." Cashman said the White Sox were the only team to offer Quintana a 40-man roster spot, and now they're reaping the rewards.
New York had lost 18 straight games when failing to score three runs.
Chicago has dropped 12 of its last 14 games at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees: After missing seven games since straining a right hip muscle on May 6, CF Jacoby Ellsbury entered on defense in the eighth. He is likely to start Sunday, Girardi said.
White Sox: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-0, 4.91 ERA) makes his third start for Chicago in the series finale Sunday.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 3.11) tries to rebound from a rough outing against Kansas City, the first time this season he gave up more than two earned runs.