A strong bounce-back from Nestor Cortes was supported by a pair of two-run home runs from Rougned Odor and Luke Voit to pace the Yankees to a nervy 5-3 victory and series win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday afternoon from Guaranteed Rate Field.
Holding a four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, Lucas Luetge and Wandy Peralta yielded two runs and put the tying men on base with one out, but the latter reliever coaxed a game-winning double play from Cesar Hernandez to clinch a 14th win in their last 19 games.
After allowing a career-worst four earned runs in his previous start against the Kansas City Royals, Cortes allowed just one run on seven hits over six innings of work while striking out seven and walking just one.
Meanwhile, New York’s offense wore down one of Chicago’s front-line starters in Lucas Giolito, ensuring he wouldn’t stay on the hill for long on Sunday.
The Yankees coaxed 33 pitches out of the righty in the first inning alone — headlined by a 12-pitch walk drawn by Brett Gardner — but they couldn’t get anything across after consecutive strikeouts by Joey Gallo and Giancarlo Stanton with runners on first and second.
They would get to him in the second when Odor launched a two-run shot for his 14th home run of the season to put the Yankees ahead. Gardner would add a third run in the frame with a two-out double that scored DJ LeMahieu from first.
Giolito wouldn’t see the fifth inning due to the high pitch count that was sparked by the heavy first-inning workload. He threw 101 innings in those four innings six hits and three walks to go with those three runs.
Cortes cruised into the sixth inning, working around six hits without allowing a run. But he was touched up in with one out in the frame when Andrew Vaughn continued his impressive rookie season with his 14th home run of the season, a solo shot to left-center field.
It was the 68th home run in Chicago’s last 40 games; the most in Major League Baseball during that span.
Cortes rebounded nicely to cut down Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert and limit the damage. He struck out Robert to end the sixth, which was his final contribution of the afternoon to end a strong run of punchouts that featured five of his seven on the day between the fourth and sixth innings.
Stephen Ridings would face the minimum in the seventh inning before walking Cesar Hernandez to lead off the eighth, prompting the Yankees to turn to Jonathan Loaisiga to get through the heart of Chicago’s order.
After getting the dangerous Jose Abreu to ground out into a fielder’s choice, he struck out Eloy Jimenez — which led to the ejection of White Sox manager Tony LaRussa — and got Vaughn to pop up.
Voit put the Yankees up by four with a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning off Matt Foster. It was just his fifth home run of the season and a subtle reminder that the slugging first baseman should be in the mix for at-bats after the acquisitions of Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo.
Luetge ensured that the Yankees needed that insurance by opening the door for the White Sox in the ninth. After allowing the first two men of the inning on, Zack Collins lofted a one-out double just over the glove of Aaron Judge in right field to bring Chicago within three.
The Yankees called on Peralta with runners and second and third and got Tim Anderson to cue a weak grounder to first base, but the speedy lead-off man beat the reliever to the bag. It allowed a run to score, putting the tying runs on base with them at the corners still with just one out, but Hernandez would ground into a 4-3 double play to end it.