Chicago White Sox starter Vince Velasquez was one out on Friday from a scoreless first inning against the New York Yankees.
Stands in his way: the hot-hitting Giancarlo Stanton.
The cleanup hitter continued his tear with a two-run home run, his third of the series.
Velasquez gave up three homeruns in five innings when the Yankees defeated the Sox 10-4 for 28,877 at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“I just started, but I didn’t come out as hot as I expected,” said Velasquez. “The last two outings (against the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox) were really locked in. It seems like I 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 it, they’re going to capitalize.”
The Yankees finished with four home runs – two runs from Stanton and Josh Donaldson and solo home runs from Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo – winning for the 17th time in 19 games.
Gavin Sheets hit a two-run home run for the Sox, who lost for the third time in four games.
Stanton hit two homeruns in the first and third innings on Thursday to help 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 outs.
“The first inning I didn’t have my slider, I didn’t have as much control over the curveball as I wanted,” said Velasquez. “With such a large attack zone, I try to force contact. It was a matter of sticking to what the task was and I fell short.”
The Sox tried to dig the 2-0 hole and loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first.
Sheets struckout and Yankees catcher Jose Trevino threw to third base to get hold of Tim Anderson. The short stop made it safe by diving, but third baseman Donaldson tried to push him off base.
The benches and bullpens were briefly cleaned up.
When everyone returned to their respective areas, Yankees starter Gerrit Cole struckout AJ Pollock to escape the jam without allowing a point.
“He made the pitches to get the hitters out,” said Sox manager Tony La Russa. “You have to give him credit.”
The Yankees had four hits – two singles and two doubles – in a three-run second.
Judge’s solo home run in the fourth, his second of the series, made it 6-0. Gallo’s solo homerun in the fifth gave the Yankees a 7-1 lead.
Velasquez gave up seven runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
“Look at the standings, look what they’re doing,” Velasquez said of the Yankees, who hold the best record in baseball at 24-8. “They’re going to ambush and if you don’t have your best gear, it gets a little harder.
“But you’ll have your good days, you’ll have your bad days. It’s just a matter of getting back on the horse and back to work.”
La Russa appreciated “the way (Velasquez) pulled it out and gave us five (innings).”
Cole gave up three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and a walk in 6⅓ innings. He handed over the two-run homer to Sheets in the sixth.
“He’s got great stuff,” Sheets said. “He’s a man 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 grind with him.
“He gets your attention on the board because his stuff is very good. It’s nice to hang out with guys like that. It’s not the guys you see every day. You switch it up, and it’s a good fight.”
Donaldson’s two-run homer against reliever Matt Foster came in a three-run ninth. The Sox have allowed 38 runs (30 earned) on 48 hits in their last four games.
“When we got fired today, it was almost always that we just missed our location,” said La Russa. “You would see the catcher set up and the field went in a different place. And that’s what a batter should do, they should punish it. And they did.”