The Chicago White Sox have gotten plenty of production from unexpected sources, helping first-year manager Robin Ventura 's club become one of baseball's biggest surprises.
Chris Sale gets another shot at win No. 15 as he looks to help Chicago earn its first home sweep of the New York Yankees in 21 years when the first-place teams conclude their three-game series Wednesday night.
White Sox general manager Kenny Williams has made some bold moves in the past two months, trading for Kevin Youkilis and Francisco Liriano while making other less-heralded additions, such as picking up Dewayne Wise .
All three contributed in Tuesday's 7-3 victory, as Youkilis hit a grand slam, Wise - designated for assignment by the Yankees on July 23 - went 4 for 5 and Liriano struck out seven in six innings to earn the win.
Youkilis has 11 of his 15 homers since being traded from Boston to the White Sox (67-55), who are two games ahead of Detroit in the AL Central race."It extends your lineup," Ventura said of having Youkilis batting second. "He's a tough at-bat. He sees a lot of pitches. All the things you want when a guy goes up there. He's seeing a lot of pitches and he's a good hitter."
Sale (14-4, 2.72 ERA) also has been a pleasant surprise in his first season as a starter, and he'll look to win a seventh straight home decision while lifting Chicago to its first home sweep of the Yankees since Aug. 6-8, 1991 - the White Sox's first season at what's now known at U.S. Cellular Field.
The left-hander's three-start winning streak ended when he allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-2 defeat at Kansas City on Friday, but he hasn't lost at home since May 12 and is 6-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his last seven outings at U.S. Cellular.
Sale will be opposed by Phil Hughes , who has struggled greatly on the road this season but has had plenty of success against the White Sox.
Hughes (12-10, 4.23) is 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in five career starts versus the White Sox after giving up two runs over eight innings in a 4-2 home victory July 1. He allowed three hits in six innings of a 6-0 win Aug. 2, 2011, in his last start in Chicago.
Hughes allowed four runs - all unearned - over seven innings of his 6-4 win over Boston on Friday, improving to 9-3 with a 3.42 ERA in 13 home starts this season.
The right-hander hasn't been nearly as good away from Yankee Stadium, going 3-7 with a 5.31 ERA. He's given up 11 runs in his last two road outings while failing to escape the fifth in either.
New York (72-51), which hasn't been swept by the White Sox since dropping all four games in the Bronx from June 15-18, 2000, has lost four of six but still leads the AL East by four games over Tampa Bay.
"We had some opportunities, (Liriano) just made some big pitches when he had to," manager Joe Girardi said.
|Alejandro De Aza||2||.000||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|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 18, 2012||Alejandro De Aza||15-Day DL||Bruised left ribcage|
|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|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Chris Sale 's pitches were giving the New York Yankees fits from the outset. Even his catcher was surprised by the way the ball was moving.
"I'll call one and he'll throw it 85 (mph) and then next one will be 94. One cuts, one sinks, one goes straight. It's just kind of a guessing game for me out there also," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said after Sale struck out 13 in 7 2-3 innings Wednesday night, pitching the Chicago White Sox to a 2-1 victory and a three-game sweep.
Sale allowed three hits, one a homer by Derek Jeter , in 7 2-3 innings to get his 15th victory. He left to a rousing ovation after 109 pitches.
"I felt great. Obviously I wanted to stay in there but late in game like that and when (the) pitch count gets up, adrenaline will get you through it. You want to finish the job you started," he said.
The 23-year-old Sale, who was sent to the bullpen for one game this season before returning to the rotation, agreed that his performance was perhaps the best of his young career.
"If it's not, it's up there for sure," said Sale, a first-round draft pick in 2010. "That's one to build on. Just try to use it for my next outing."
Sale (15-4) outpitched New York's Phil Hughes , who went seven innings and gave up Alex Rios ' go-ahead homer in the sixth. Addison Reed worked the ninth for his 23rd save in 26 chances.
"He's funky. He's got a funky motion. He's especially tough on lefties. He throws hard," Jeter said of Sale. "His fastball moves, a lot of off-speed pitches, which is surprising considering how hard he throws. He can overpower you when he needs to, but we didn't get much going off of him at all."
New York's loss and Tampa Bay's victory over Kansas City reduced the Yankees' lead in the AL East to three games, their smallest since before play on June 26.
"That's what you go through. The season isn't over after 120 (games), it's not over after 140, you have to play 162," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
While speaking with reporters outside the Yankees clubhouse after the game, Girardi took a few steps away from the media and toward a heckler, yelling: "Hey, shut up!" Girardi then walked back to the reporters and resumed answering questions.
The win gave the White Sox their first three-game sweep of the Yankees at home since 1991, the year U.S. Cellular Field (then known as new Comiskey Park) opened.
"They just beat us. Flat out. Today, Chris Sale was pretty incredible," New York first baseman Mark Teixeira said.
Jeter hit his 13th homer to tie the game 1-1 in the top of the sixth. But Rios responded in the bottom half with his 20th homer to put Chicago ahead.
Hughes (12-11) allowed five hits and two runs with two walks and five strikeouts.
Chicago scored first for the first time in the series when Gordon Beckham doubled, Dewayne Wise reached on a bunt single and Kevin Youkilis hit a sacrifice fly in the third.
Notes: Jeter acknowledged that it takes extra time now to get ready and at age 38 he's making it work with a standout season that seen him climb to No. 11 on the all-time hits list. He has also surpassed 250 career homers. "You got to get here a little earlier and stay a little longer. I'm sure that applies to most people who are standing here right now," Jeter said Wednesday. "I think that's normal, that's for everyone. My fifth year wasn't like my first year, just like this year isn't like five years ago." ... Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte (fractured left ankle) threw off of flat ground on Wednesday, and is scheduled to throw again on Saturday. Pettitte said he is building toward getting on a mound, but is "not quite there yet." There is no timetable for his return. ... Adam Dunn of the White Sox struck out in the third for a club-record 178th time, breaking the mark he set last season. Dunn fanned a career-high 199 times in 2010 with the Nationals.