The AL East-leading New York Yankees have rebounded from their rough patch.
The AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox, meanwhile, are suddenly in a little slump, and a home series against the Yankees might not be the best way to break out of it.
Surging New York could have Mark Teixeira back in the lineup as it looks to win its seventh straight game on Chicago's South Side in Monday night's opener with the White Sox, who are trying to avoid losing their fourth in a row overall.
After dropping nine of their final 12 games in July, the Yankees (72-49) improved to 12-6 in August with Sunday's 4-1 win over Boston. Ichiro Suzuki had a pair of solo homers and Derek Jeter had three hits and scored twice for New York, which maintained its five-game lead over Tampa Bay.
Teixeira, who has 23 homers and a team-best 78 RBIs, missed the last three games with a sore left wrist, but intends to try to play Monday at U.S. Cellular Field, where the Yankees have outscored the White Sox 48-21 in winning the last six meetings.
That's New York's longest active road winning streak over a single opponent as well as Chicago's longest active home skid against any foe - not exactly uplifting news for a White Sox team returning home after being swept in Kansas City.
"It's absolutely disappointing," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said about the three losses to the Royals. "It's frustrating. It's brutal. I expect us to play better."
Chicago (65-55), which still leads the Central by 1 1/2 games over Detroit, had no hits through 6 2-3 innings of Sunday's 5-2 loss and totaled eight runs in Kansas City.
Getting the offense back on track could be tough with the way scheduled starter Freddy Garcia (7-5, 4.68 ERA) is pitching.
The veteran right-hander has yielded two runs in winning each of his three starts this month, and is 5-3 with a 3.69 ERA in nine games since re-entering the rotation in place of the injured Andy Pettitte .
"Ever since he came back from the bullpen, he's been tremendous," catcher Russell Martin told the Yankees' official website.
Garcia has had two stints with the White Sox, and he was the winner in their last home victory over New York on Aug. 27, 2010. He hasn't faced Chicago since 2008, although he's always handled Adam Dunn , who is 0 for 11 with six strikeouts in their matchups.
Paul Konerko has four homers in 28 at-bats against Garcia.
The White Sox, who split a four-game series in the Bronx earlier this season, counter with Gavin Floyd (9-9, 4.43), and that may bode well for the Yankees.
Floyd allowed four runs along with eight hits and five walks in 5 1-3 innings in a 4-2 defeat in New York on July 1, and was pounded for a career-worst 10 runs in 2 1-3 innings of an 18-7 home loss to the Yankees last August. The righty has also served up 10 homers in his last nine home starts - an ominous stat before facing a New York team that is on pace to set a franchise record for home runs, having already hit 189.
Since the start of last season, Jeter is 5 for 9 against Floyd while Robinson Cano is 4 for 8 with three homers.
A series in Chicago might be just what Cano needs. Mired in a 1-for-17 slump, the four-time All-Star second baseman is 11 for 24 (.458) with two homers and seven RBIs during the winning streak at U.S. Cellular Field.
|New York Yankees|
|August 17, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|August 09, 2012||CC Sabathia||15-Day DL||Left elbow soreness|
|July 25, 2012||Alex Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Non-displaced fracture in left hand|
|July 25, 2012||Nick Swisher||Day-to-Day||Strained left hip flexor|
|July 24, 2012||Alex Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Left hand fracture|
|June 28, 2012||Andy Pettitte||60-Day DL||Fractured left ankle - out 6-8 weeks|
|Chicago White Sox|
|August 19, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|August 16, 2012||Orlando Hudson||15-Day DL||Left foot contusion|
|August 14, 2012||Leyson Septimo||15-Day DL||Left biceps inflammation|
|August 12, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Sore left forearm|
|August 08, 2012||Paul Konerko||7-Day DL||Mild concussion|
|August 08, 2012||Paul Konerko||7-Day DL||Mild concussion|
CHICAGO (AP) -- The White Sox put a lousy weekend in Kansas City behind them in a hurry. Really, there was no choice with the New York Yankees coming to town to start a three-game series between first-place teams.
Alexei Ramirez hit a go-ahead homer, Adam Dunn drove out his major league best 36th and Chicago rallied twice Monday night to beat the Yankees 9-6 in the opener.
"We played so bad in Kansas City," Dunn said of three-game sweep by the Royals that featured some sloppy baseball by the White Sox.
"The energy was going down a little bit in Kansas City. We didn't get off to a good start tonight. I think it shows the resiliency of this team. Obviously tonight wasn't looking good. We had some opportunities early to drive some runs in and we didn't and fell behind. We just kept battling."
Dewayne Wise and Gordon Beckham also homered for Chicago, which fell behind early 3-0 and also trailed 6-5.
"Every game is important. What happened in Kansas City, we have to leave in the past. The race is so tight, every night is going to be important," said Ramirez, who lost a double earlier in the game when umpires changed a call and ruled his bouncer over third foul.
"That's baseball. The calls will go your way in certain instances and I just had to take it in stride," Ramirez said. "Fortunately I was able to hit the home run and more importantly we won the game, that's the most important thing of all."
Ramirez connected with two outs in the seventh off Boone Logan (4-2) for his seventh homer of the season. Brett Myers (2-1) got the win by pitching two-thirds of an inning. Addison Reed worked the ninth for his 22nd save in 25 chances.
"It's tough to swallow. We've been scuffling as a whole down there lately," Logan said. "You gotta grind through it and get through it. We know that and we talk about it. We're doing the best we can."
Ramirez's homer came on a 3-2 pitch.
"It was a bad pitch, either way, but I was looking to throw it low, in the dirt. I was gonna show it to him, but in the dirt," Logan said. "If I walked him, onto the next guy. If he swings, I strike him out."
New York's Derek Jeter homered and had four hits, tying Eddie Murray for 11th place on the career hits list (3,255). He also took over 13th place on the runs scored list (1,845), passing Craig Biggio .
"He just continues to have big days for us. That's what he's doing. It is pretty amazing," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Wise hit a two-run homer for Chicago as the White Sox scored five times in the fifth for a 5-3 lead, but the Yankees quickly went ahead in the top of the sixth on Jeter's solo homer and RBI singles by Mark Teixeira and pinch-hitter Casey McGehee .
However, Beckham homered off Joba Chamberlain to start the bottom of the sixth, tying it at 6.
The Yankees scored three early runs against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd , who was wild from the outset and lasted only 2 1-3 innings.
Wise, designated for assignment by the Yankees in July, hit his sixth homer in the fifth, shortly after umpires reversed a call and ruled that an apparent double by Ramirez was a foul ball.
"I mean I'm not going to lie. When you play against a former team you obviously want to go out there and try and do well," Wise said. "I don't think too many people can leave one team that was in first place and come to another one, so I'm pretty blessed and just glad to be here."
Ramirez led off with a bouncer over third that third base umpire Bill Welke ruled a fair ball with Ramirez reaching on second. But after an umps' conference, they reversed the call and ruled it was foul. White Sox manager Robin Ventura came out of the dugout for an explanation but the changed call stood and Ramirez then struck out. At the time it was a pivotal call because Beckham followed with a single and then Wise homered.
Kevin Youkilis followed with a single and Dunn and Paul Konerko walked to load the bases and finish Yankees starter Freddy Garcia . Chicago tied it on Alex Rios ' fielder's choice grounder.
A.J. Pierzynski greeted reliever Clay Rapada with an RBI single to center, giving Chicago a 4-3 lead and after the Yankees brought in their fourth pitcher of the inning in Chamberlain, Dayan Viciedo hit another run-scoring single.
Jeter hit the game's first pitch for a single, tying him with Nap Lajoie for 12th place on the career list. Nick Swisher walked before Beckham made a nice back-handed stop on Robinson Cano 's grounder to get a force at second. Teixeira hit an RBI single and Eric Chavez a run-scoring fielder's choice.
Curtis Granderson hit a bases-loaded single to make it 3-0 in the second before Rios' strong throw from right cut down Cano at the plate for the final out.
Garcia lasted 4 1-3 innings. He gave up six hits and five runs with eight strikeouts.
Floyd threw 50 pitches in the first two innings and was yanked after just 2 1-3 innings - his shortest outing of the season - when he gave up five hits, three runs and four walks.
NOTES: Yankees ace CC Sabathia is scheduled to throw a bullpen session this week and manager Joe Girardi said how the left-hander feels after that workout could determine if he can come off the DL and return to the rotation. ... White Sox CF and leadoff hitter Alejandro de Aza missed his third straight game with a sore back.