Chicago White Sox starter Vince Velasquez came within one out of a scoreless first inning Friday against the New York Yankees.
Standing in his way: the hard-hitting Giancarlo Stanton.
The fourth batter continued his streak with a two-run home run, the third of the series.
Velasquez delivered three home runs in five innings as the Yankees beat the Sox 10-4 in front of 28,877 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“As soon as I started, I didn’t come out as hot as I expected,” Velasquez said. “The last two outings (against the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox) have been really close. Looks like it was out of sync from the start.
“This team is very selective when it comes to finding what they like and if you don’t execute, they’re going to capitalize on it.”
The Yankees finished with four homers, two runs from Stanton and Josh Donaldson and solo homers from Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo, and won for the 17th time in 19 games.
Gavin Sheets hit a two-run homer for the Sox, who lost for the third time in four games.
Stanton hit two-run homers in the first and third innings Thursday, helping the Yankees to a 15-7 victory.
He wasted no time contributing again on Friday. Judge walked with one out and Stanton homered with two out.
“In the first inning, I didn’t have my slider, I didn’t have control of the curveball as much as I wanted to,” Velasquez said. “With a big strike zone like that, I’m trying to force contact. It was a matter of sticking to what the task was and I fell short”.
The Sox tried to dig the hole 2-0, loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the first.
Sheets struck out and Yankees catcher José Treviño threw to third to try to get to Tim Anderson. The shortstop made it safely by diving, but third baseman Donaldson tried to push him off the base.
Benches and bullpens were briefly cleared.
Once everyone returned to their respective areas, Yankees starter Gerrit Cole struck out AJ Pollock to escape the jam without allowing a run.
“He threw the pitches to get hitters out,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “You have to give him credit.”
The Yankees had four hits, two singles and two doubles, during a three-run second.
Judge’s solo homer in the fourth, his second of the series, made it 6-0. Gallo’s solo homer in the fifth gave the Yankees a 7-1 lead.
Velasquez allowed seven runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
“Look at the standings, look at what they’re doing,” Velasquez said of the Yankees, who have the best record in baseball at 24-8. “They’re going to ambush you and when you don’t have your best stuff, things get a little harder.
“But you’re going to have your good days, you’re going to have your bad days. It’s just a matter of you getting back on the horse and getting back to work.”
La Russa appreciated “the way (Velásquez) gutted her and gave us five (tickets)”.
Cole allowed three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and one walk in 6⅓ innings. He gave up the two-run homer to Sheets in the sixth.
“He’s got great stuff,” Sheets said. “He’s a guy that you don’t know what he’s going to throw at you. It could be 100, it could be 82, it could be 88. You just have to fight, you have to work with it.
“He focuses you on the plate, because his repertoire is very good. It’s fun to go up against guys like that. They are not the guys you see every day. You prepare and it’s a good fight.”
Donaldson’s two-run homer off reliever Matt Foster came during a three-run ninth inning. The Sox have allowed 38 runs (30 earned) and 48 hits in the last four games.
“When we got burned today, we almost always lost our location,” La Russa said. “You saw the catcher getting ready and the pitch was going to a different spot. And that’s what a hitter is supposed to do, they’re supposed to punish him. And they did.