An early-game meltdown from White Sox righty Michael Kopech allowed the Yankees to capture their MLB-best 25th win of the season on Sunday afternoon, despite recording just 2 hits in the game.
The 5–1 victory marked the Bronx Bombers’ 8th-straight series win, and they are 10-1-1 in serieses this season.
Nestor Cortes Jr. got the win for New York, after he became the first Yankee pitcher to throw 8 innings this season, while giving up just 3 hits and 1 run.
“He’s locating all his pitchers, and finding his zone,” said catcher Jose Trevino, who was behind the plate for Cortes’ stellar play. “He’s always a competitor, he’s always good. He’s gonna give you all he’s got.”
“That was a really special outing, he was just in complete control,” said manager Aaron Boone. “It was just really good.”
On the other side of the ball, Kopech entered the game with a stellar 0.93 ERA through 29 innings pitched this season, but couldn’t find the strike zone during a 3-run 2nd inning, during which he gave up a hit and 4 walks, while throwing a wild pitch to send a runner across the plate.
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The inning started off well for Chicago, as Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson both flied out during the first 2 at bats. Yet, that good fortune for the White Sox quickly evaporated, as Joey Gallo reached first base on a walk, before Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled off a 92 mph fastball down the middle of the plate.
With runners on first and second, Kopech proceeded to walk 3-straight batters — Jose Trevino, Aaron Hicks and DJ LeMahieu, to score 2 runs.
The struggling pitcher then threw a wild pitch that got by Chicago catcher Reese McGuire, allowing Trevino to cross the plate to bring the score to 3–0.
“It was really just a lot of patient at bats that won us this game,” Boone said after the game.
Kopech and the White Sox finally got out of the inning when slugger Aaron Judge grounded out to third base.
Despite his struggles, White Sox manager Tony La Russa kept his righty in the game for the next 4 innings — and that bet paid off, as the 26-year-old rebounded, and held the Yankees hitless for the remainder of his time on the mound.
The Yankees only other hit of the game came on a solo home run from Joey Gallo off a 96 mph fastball from Chicago reliever José Ruiz in the 9th inning.
As for his team’s lack of hitting, Boone simply smiled and added praise for his team’s ability to cross the plate by any means necessary.
“It’s a scoring competition, not a hitting competition,” he said.
Meanwhile, the White Sox only run came in the bottom of the 8th inning when Adam Engel hit a solo long-ball off Cortes Jr.
The win came after a Saturday night loss to Chicago, but marked a 3–1 series victory. The Yankees move to 25–9, which puts in the lead of the AL East by 5.5 games, ahead of the second-place Toronto Blue Jays.
The Bronx Bombers’ next game comes on Monday in Baltimore agasint the Orioles, who have struggled with a 14–21 record on the young season. The Yankees are betting-odds favorites to win that series, and advance to their 9th straight series win.